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Author Topic: Who pays what for activities?  (Read 2315 times)

mango

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Who pays what for activities?
« on: Apr 16, 2004, 05:28:21 AM »
Dear Soc,

We share 50/50 joint custody (Ohio) of my step-daughter and have no support order. In the plan it states "parents agree to pay for one-half of the costs of the the childs school-related activities." Step-daughter is in 5th grade, and decided to take flute lessons in school, and the mother went out and bought an $800 flute. Then she mails the receipt to the father requesting money, with no discussion over flute options.

He had access to 2 second-hand (already paid for) flutes and offered them instead, since she is a beginner it should have sufficed. The mother refused, and said the child has been using the new one and prefers it.  Now she filed contempt, for not paying for activities.

She also enrolled her in private flute lessons (outside of the school lesson) and father is helping pay 1/2 for those at $80.00 per month. (this was done with no prior discussion as well.)

Q's

1- Does he have an obligation to pay on demand whatever she chooses to purchase without a discussion?

2- Isn't the more expensive flute an arbitrary personal choice?

Thank you,


NeverGiveUp

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RE: Who pays what for activities?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 16, 2004, 10:59:07 AM »
Not legal advice, just a perspective.

If I had 50/50 custody of my children and the issue was $400, I would gladly pay.  A trip to court will cost you at least as much and if there's ever a custody dispute and you loose 50/50.  Expect to pay 20-25% of your GROSS income in CS.  That could easily add up to 2-3 flutes a month.

socrateaser

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RE: Who pays what for activities?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 16, 2004, 12:51:58 PM »
>1- Does he have an obligation to pay on demand whatever she
>chooses to purchase without a discussion?

If you both have 50/50 legal and physical custody, and there is nothing in the court order that instructs how major decisions regarding the child's health and welfare will be resolved, then either parent can make a decision in the other's absense, and, based on the text of the order that you posted, the other party is on the hook.

On the other hand, if you both have the independent right to make major decisions, then you can take the flute back to the store where it was purchased and ask for a refund. In short, both parents can constantly thwart each other. For that matter, you could go out and buy the child a $5,000 flute, and then send the other parent that bill.

I'll bet that would get her attention, huh?

>2- Isn't the more expensive flute an arbitrary personal
>choice?

It depends on how your court order is written. You need to determine if there is text in the order that will resolve such issues in the future, and if not, then you need to ask the court to clarify the order, so that you have some simple dispute resolution process. Otherwise, you will be plagued by this forever.

In your present circumstances, however, you may be in contempt. I would need to read the ENTIRE custody order as it is currently made.

In order to be found in contempt, there must be a "valid, enforceable" order, you must have "knowledge" of the order, and you must "willfully violate" the order. If there is nothing in your custody order to the effect of "The parties shall agree on any major decisions regarding the child's health and welfare," then you could argue that your actions weren't knowing or willful, because the order is vague and ambiguous with regard to how major decisions regarding the child's health and welfare are to be made, and, that the order, as written, is so open ended, that it encourages parents to create large financial obligations on the child's behalf, as a means of punishing the other parent and holding that parent half responsible.

I think I could win that arguement, however, it's a close call.

If I were you, I would seriously consider offering to pay the "entire bill" for the flute, in return for the other parent agreeing to withdraw the contempt, and stipulate to a dispute resolution scheme to be used in such matters, going forward.

You should post the entire current order so I can look it over.

mango

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RE: Who pays what for activities?
« Reply #3 on: Apr 19, 2004, 06:14:07 AM »
Thanks for the response.

Our plan does  indicate "The parties shall agree on any major decisions regarding the child's health and welfare."

I will show my husband his options, and he can decide from there.

We are not using an attorney, as we can not afford one, since she has us in court every 3-6 months for 6 years counting......

It's not the $$ amount of the flute that bothers him, it's the fact that she can spend his money whenever she chooses that bothers him. He wants it policed to some degree, or at least be asked how he spends his money out of respect. It's simply rude not to.


socrateaser

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RE: Who pays what for activities?
« Reply #4 on: Apr 19, 2004, 06:56:44 AM »
If you have the described text in the order, then you don't have to pay your half for the flute, because no agreement was ever reached on how much would be spent.

Although there is no set amount for what makes a major decision regarding a purchase of goods, $500 is usually a good starting point, because the Uniform Commercial Code in 49 States (all but LA) use $500 as the amount at which a purchase contract must be in writing.

You could also use some percentage of combined net disposable income, but that makes for a more complex argument.


mango

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RE: Who pays what for activities?
« Reply #5 on: Apr 20, 2004, 06:25:25 AM »
How can I post you my parenting plan in PDF format? I have it ready for you to  look over.

mango

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RE: part of the agreement – LONG
« Reply #6 on: Apr 20, 2004, 08:27:47 AM »
>If you have the described text in the order, then you don't
>have to pay your half for the flute, because no agreement was
>ever reached on how much would be spent.
>
>Although there is no set amount for what makes a major
>decision regarding a purchase of goods, $500 is usually a good
>starting point, because the Uniform Commercial Code in 49
>States (all but LA) use $500 as the amount at which a purchase
>contract must be in writing.
>
>You could also use some percentage of combined net disposable
>income, but that makes for a more complex argument.

I typed up the portion of the agreement with the parental obligations and the activities section: (this might clarify my swim-club post also)

>>



PARENTAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS:

Each Parent shall have the following rights and obligations:

A. To participate and consult in all major decisions affecting the welfare of the minor child, including matters affecting the health, social development, morals, welfare, education and economic environment of said child. This right shall include but not limited to consultation with any treating physician, dentist, psychologist, health care provider, teacher, counselor, tutor, coach, or any other persons who significantly impact the minor child.

Each Party hereby assigns the other Parent the authority to consent to any necessary medical emergency, surgical, hospital, dental, institutional, psychological or psychiatric treatment for the minor child. Further, the Mother and the Father shall each be entitled to obtain a second opinion from a competent professional at their own cost with respect to any and all medical related issues pertaining to the minor child. If there is any disagreement after any second opinions are obtained, the Mother's choice shall control.

(other stuff inbetween....)

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:

The parties will cooperate in facilitating extracurricular activities. During the time each parent has said child, each parent will be responsible for taking the child to her extracurricular activities.

The cost of school-related or school sponsored said extracurricular activities will be equally divided between the parents, each paying 50% of the same. However, should either parent enroll the child in a non-school related extracurricular activity without the agreement of the other parent who did not agree for the child to participate in said extracurricular activity shall have no obligation to pay any of the costs of said extracurricular activity and shall be relieved of any obligation to transport the child to said extracurricular activity. The purpose of this clause is to ensure that neither parent enrolls the child in an extracurricular activity without the express agreement of the other parent. However, either parent may indicate that while they do not agree with the enrollment into the extracurricular activity, they may agree by written notice to the parent who is enrolling the child in said extracurricular activity, that they will not agree to pay for said activity, but will transport the child to said activity and in that manner, the parent who is enrolling the child shall not be in violation, that an entire agreement must be entered into prior to enrolling the child in any extracurricular activity.

PHYSICAL LIVING ARRANGEMENTS:
The child shall live with the Mother and Father, spending approximately 50% of the time with each parent, being with the father as follows:

Child shall be with father beginning the first Friday of each month for period of 9.5 days from 3:30 Friday until the 2nd following Monday at 7:30 a.m.
The child shall be with the father the weekend which starts on the 4th Friday of the month, from afterschool until Mondays at 7:30am.

The dispossessed parent shall have child on Wednesdays from 5:00- 8:00. Parent having this time shall pick-up and drop off child.

The above schedule shall be followed throughout the year. However, the parties shall share the summer school vacation period which shall be defined as one day after school is out and terminate the Friday prior to school starting for fall semester. The parties shall divide summer, with father 50% plus one week, and mother 50% less one week for said summer months. Father shall have first half of summer mother the second.


(more.......etc)
>>>>.


socrateaser

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RE: part of the agreement – LONG
« Reply #7 on: Apr 20, 2004, 01:51:02 PM »
Based on your posted order, I'd say that if the child plays flute in the school band/orchestra, then you owe 1/2, otherwise, you don't owe anything.

 

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