It is very important o keep a copy of your certified, stamped, final orders in a divorce, child support, or modification case. Make sure you have the exact copy of the orders as they were entered into the court and signed by the judge. You should have an original that you put away for safekeeping and you should also have a photocopy handy that you can look at anytime you need to. Follow what is there. You are legally obligated to do what is in those orders.
Here is a situation that we hear about often. Parent #1 is paying child support and medical support as well. Parent #2 tells Parent #1 to pay an additional $500 for an extra activity or for supplies, however this is not in the decree. While the Parent #1 may want to help with these expenses and is certainly allowed to do so, if it is not written in the final order it is not an legal obligation.
The example of an activity or school supplies was a pretty simple one and most parents will happily help when they can. But what to do when one of the ex spouses keeps continuously asking for money and continuously creating expenses that can be considered unnecessary or excessive? For instance, enrolling the children in excessive or expensive activities then telling the other parent to contribute half, without regard to resources or budget. Remember if it isn’t in the decree it isn’t an order. You have to weigh each request for yourself. Of course there is no way to prevent guilt feelings if you have to say “no”, and you can’t change someone else’s behavior, but you can remember that you must look at the big picture for yourself and your children. Continually overextending yourself financially is not good for you or your children and does not teach children the value of having a budget.
Kalish Law Office – Since 1984. Family Law, Divorce, Child Support, Modification. 281-363-3700 Call for a consult. We can help you understand your legal options.