Ex wont help with extra-curricular expenses - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 03-16-2015, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Ex wont help with extra-curricular expenses

My ex-husband and I have been separated for 2 years now and divorced for almost a year. Years before we separated our daughter started taking dance classes. She excels at it and loves it very much. She was invited to join the company dance team 2 years younger than any other dancer at her school and has been doing that for several years now.

The problem is that now that we are divorced, my ex refuses to help pay for ANY extraneous expenses for our daughter. Legally, our marital settlement agreement says that he is required to pay half of any of her activities that we both agree she will be enrolled in.

So, he found a loophole. If he just tells me he doesn't want her to do it, then he doesn't have to pay for it. He has no reason that he doesn't want her to do it OTHER than the fact that he doesn't want to pay for it, either. He lives over an hour away and only has our daughter every other weekend, so it requires no effort on his part to bring her to the classes or participate at all. The conversations usually go similarly to this...

Me: Summer dance registration is out and will cost $x.

Him: No, I don't think she should do it this summer.

Me: Why not? It's only 1 night a week for an hour and a half. She's involved with the team and has been training all year for the parades and competition this summer.

Him: I don't want to pay for it.

The problem with that is that he knows I will still enroll her. I have that right because it's during "my" time with her. Only now, because he's said he "doesn't agree" she should be enrolled in it... he doesn't have to pay his half.

But of course he still shows up to her recitals and parades and everything else... Which I am thankful for... but it pisses me off that he can be there to support her in the end but refuses to help financially fund the lessons.

This has been true for literally every single thing in our daughter's life since we split. He has not helped pay for school supplies, uniforms, tuition,... literally anything. In fact this past weekend was his weekend with her. She was invited to a birthday party and I asked him if he would take her to it so I knew how to RSVP. He said he would take her. I told him that he would need to buy a gift to take to the party. He said "If I have to buy the gift then forget it. I'm only taking her if you buy the gift."

Any advice?

I should add that he CAN afford it. He makes much more money than I do and is not suffering financially. He's just stubborn.

Last edited by jayneeann; 03-16-2015 at 11:34 AM.
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#2 of 7 Old 03-16-2015, 07:49 PM
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The only thing I can think of is for the party, I'd scan/take a picture of the invite and send it to him. It really doesn't require your involvement beyond that. He can RSVP himself when a party is on his time. When your daughter asks if she can go, just let her know you sent the invite to her dad and he'll decide. If he brings her to a party without a present, that's on him. She can complain to him if it bothers her.

~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#3 of 7 Old 03-16-2015, 09:09 PM
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It sounds like he's being a real jerk, but short of legal action I don't think there's much you can do about it.

Regarding the birthday party thing, I really disagree with Mummoth's suggestion. I think that will end up with your daughter feeling disappointed and caught in the middle. When my daughter attends birthday parties she either makes a gift or buys one with her allowance. Perhaps doing something similar would ease the situation a bit?

Me + DH = DD (1/2004) & DS (6/2013) & One on the way (11/2015)
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#4 of 7 Old 03-17-2015, 06:21 AM
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Is the agreement worded in such a way that you have to ask him whether to enroll her? I am wondering whether you can just enroll her in activities and present him with his half of the bill.

I have encountered this problem, but my ex does not say that he doesn't want the child involved. He agrees to pay half and then does not. After the first year of trying to chase him down, I arranged for the afterschool activities themselves to bill us each for half, separately. It's not nice to the afterschool activities, but I cannot earn a living and also spend all my time trying to collect money from my ex.

I think the most important thing for you to do here is to ensure that college tuition isn't worded this way in your divorce agreement. It's one thing to pay for her dance classes yourself. The dance programs may be willing to extend a sliding scale to you based on your income if you are paying alone. Universities and colleges will assess a student's ability to pay based on both parents' income and assets. If your ex is going to wimp out on tuition, your daughter may need to establish financial independence before she can afford college.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#5 of 7 Old 03-17-2015, 08:29 AM
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Custody/child support orders that reference parental cooperation only work for exes who are equally inclined to cooperate. It is so frustrating, when courts don't understand this. My husband and his ex (whose son lives with DH and me) had so, so many issues where the court expected them to work out details themselves and it seemed so asinine, when their history was replete with examples of Mom's decisions being solely based on opposing DH, in spite of what was obviously fair or in their child's best interest. Why do you pay all the attorneys' fees and court costs, if you're going to wind up with orders that tell you to work it out yourselves? If that were possible, you would've done it, for free!

IME, your only functional option is to return to court and either request a modification, with more specific orders (spelling out which expenses you guys will share, how you will notify him of the amount due, whether he'll reimburse you - and by when - or whether he'll pay his share directly, and what consequence he'll have for failing to do it); OR you could request a coordinator (like a PTC), to help mediate expenses as they arise. It's a matter of how much money you're willing to invest up front, to save yourself headaches and expenses until your daughter's an adult. It would be nicer, though, if the heartache of people's divorces weren't such a cash cow for the divorce industry.
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#6 of 7 Old 03-18-2015, 10:42 PM
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I agree with Mummoth's suggestion about the invitations. It's xh's choice if he brings her, and likewise his choice if he will buy a gift or not.

Vocal Minority has good points. Likely the only way to get extra ordinaries covered is to specifically spell out what they are (eg dance class and registration fees and uniforms) and how they are split. And even better have the fees averaged out per month and have a clause that allows this set monthly amount to be collected with child support.

But do keep documenting to demonstrate the pattern I see of:
1. Agreeing in principal to the activity
2. Disagreeing AFTER he realizes he pays.
The more you have of those emails where he is foolish enough to admit he just doesn't want to pay, yet has somehow agreed in principal, the better your case for requesting specific court orders.

Also good to have a collection of witnesses who see him supporting dd at the performances. That's not exactly showing he doesn't agree!
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#7 of 7 Old 03-19-2015, 05:09 AM
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My stbx says he'll help but only if it's all arranged to his convenience. So the kids would be moved from the activity they love and the teachers they love. I don't think so.

Being unable to negotiate with him is one of the reasons our marriage ended.

If he could easily afford to help I would be much more upset at our situation.

And for birthday parties it's totally normal that the parent with the child buys the present. Would he agree that you buy it and he pays you back? Or is it really about the money?
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