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Very Petty but a pain....

Started by mango, Oct 06, 2004, 12:49:49 PM

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We have joint 50/50, no child support order (agreed to by choice). BM has school district.

No place does it specify who pays for school fees, and school supplies.

DH sent a courtesy check for $20 to help pay for school supplies the first year. Ever since then BM has been sending us a detailed list of the costs.

This year it was nearly $200 in school fees and misc school supplies. (seemed excessive to me, but...)

Last year not one pencil, or sheet of lined paper, school handout, nor school text book came to DH's house and we had to figure out assignments without books, and purchase school supplies ourselves in order for her to work on homework etc. No biggie, only a few bucks here and there.

This year we decided to purchase a book from the school during open house, so SD had a copy at our house as well, since the teacher recommended it.

DH deducted it from BM's total bill, and wrote a note that he deducted the book but not his "costs" of school supplies that he had purchased.

He does not have a problem contributing to his daughters school stuff, but this is getting silly.

She mailed the check back, and said nothing we purchase counts, "she" is the only one that can make these decisions and make purchases and DH simply need to oblige her. Ordered him to re-write a check for the amount she originally sent for.

It's not a matter over the actual cost, it's principal. Sure we can send the $$ for the difference of the darn book, and be done with it, but this can go on all year long, every little project she buys a posterboard for she send a receipt, but if we buy stuff we can't?

Should we just suck it up, be happy there is no support order and send her money whenever she demands it?

It's really more annoying then anything else. I'd rather just send her a lump flat amount every year, and let her work within the means of the amount. I hate to bicker over peanuts back and forth.

Kitty C.

It may seem petty on the surface, but the duration is the problem.  And I think you may have set a precedence by giving her money for the school supplies in the first place.  Especially since there is NOTHING in your CO that specifically covers it.

To tell you the truth, there ain't much she can do if you refuse to send her anything.  BUT....if she gets pissy about it and decides to take you to court over it, the judge may look at what you've done in the past and order you to pay anyway.  BTW, do you have documentation/proof of her statement that it's ONLY her decision in these matters?  If not, try to get her to repeat it in some way, whether by voice or letter/e-mail.  Taht way, you can take some of the wind out of her sails by making her look greedy and controling, especially since you have 50/50.

It's a toss-up, but largely dependant on how far she's willing to push the issue.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


Yeah, I understand the annoying part.

Because it's purely a financial issue (right?), assess what would happen if she were to ask for the court to modify the child support agreement.

If your husband and biomom make the same amount, and it's 50/50, then you still won't pay any child support.

If husband makes more, then the child support could greatly exceed what the school supplies are.  And so you know you want to avoid peeving her off so much that she retaliates by adjusting the child support order.

I think it's reasonable that the court would order parents to pay for the school supplies needed for each home, and split "reasonable and necessary" costs for anything else.

If not going to court, if your husband wants to reduce the inconvenience, he can just ask her to provide receipts for everything, and he'll write two checks per school year (i.e., after the beginning, and at the end) to reimburse her for half (minus what you spent like on the duplicate textbook).  Then y'all just let the receipts collect in a file, and add 'em up twice a year.

Send the checks via delivery confirmation.  If she elects not to cash the checks, that's her business.  You have delivery confirmation to show the court (if ever necessary) that you tried to reimburse her.



However, to help solve the issue, you could do this:

Send back check for HER amount.  With a letter attached stating:  (Send cert. return receipt)

To: ___

To continue to try to co-parent effectively for the best interest of our child(ren), lets come to an agreement regarding school expenses.  I have two options I have thought of.  They are:

1.  We alternate every other year paying for all school expenses after the current year.  Next year, I will pay all expenses to enroll, pay for lunches, uniforms, school supplies, etc.  The next, you will do the same.  

2.  We continue to split each year 50/50, however, any and all items needed for school work will be sent to each home during the child(ren)s stay at the home.  This includes, but is not limited to, school books, paper, pens, pencils, backpacks, and other incidentals used on a daily basis for school.  Any special projects which require additional spending during the year, the parent who has the child will buy the items and send a receipt to the other parent within 30 days for reimbursement within 30 days.  

Either of these works for me, and I would like your input as soon as possible.  If you choose the first option, it can start this year with you paying any incidentals that occur the remainder of the year.  If you choose the second option, the same.

Please respond in writing regarding what works best for you within ___ days.  



What do you think?  Would she go for this?  Would you?


I stand divided on both issues brought up,

1.) that she will take us back to court and we will likely be in for greater problems. She will state that he is unwilling to support his daughter yadda yadda. To avoid, just appease her, and send check.

2.) But then yes, are we settingup a precident to future larger issues. We need to set boundaries.

I really like the letter idea of rotating the expenses.

But somehow she will just dictate to us what needs to be spent on our year, and cut back on her year, because she says "she" is the only one allowed to make decisions on these issues. She put it in writing and said it in mediation a while back.

It's not true but she think's it is and hold her ground. She told my DH that (in fornt of mediator) that he can't make those decisons because she is residential parent and therefore deemed teh decison maker for all school matters. Which i don't think is how it works.

She was only designated residential parent because of the school district, nothin more.

Thanks I will figure out a letter to send with HER check.


This post is NOT to minimize your situation.

It's just to let you know it could be worse.

My brother has 50/50 physical & legal custody, with 3 daughters.  He pays $1,300 a month in CS and pays for all school supplies and other stuff.  Mom is a leach and works here and there (you know what I mean).

Kitty C.

Then I think you also need to include your state's definition of what 'joint legal' is in that letter!  Cuz it sounds like she has no clue!  Along with that, a reminder that acting contrary to the CO (her making ALL decisions when it should be done jointly) is grounds for contempt.  That when you have enough of them, you WILL file on them.

YOU need to hold YOUR ground as strongly as she is holding hers.  As long as YOU know that you are doing everything legal, don't back down and force her to reassess her thinking on the joint legal issue.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


let her know that as long as she is not willing to send SD to house without any necessary books or supplies needed to do homework with, then you will need to purchase stuff for your house as well and will expect her to pay 1/2 for these as well by deduction from the receipt sent.  

I you are paying for the stuff used at her house, then SD should be bringing these things back and forth to complete assignments.  Period.

I would tell her you sent the original $20 for supplies b/c you were trying to help out with school supplies.  However the additional constant receipts are getting out of hand.  Let her know that you will set a precedence right now:

                 You will contribute 1/2 to the school supply list that is provided by the school each year and to whatever books are needed for school.
                 From then on, you will purchase whatever supplies are needed for assignments to be done at your house and she will purchase for her house.  This includes things for any special projects that need to be done when at your house or her house.

You will also expect her to send all school books to your house since you are paying 1/2 of the cost. If she doesn't do this, you will start purchasing your own and not reimbursing her for the ones she purchased.

Plain and simple. And that will be it and stick to it. Also start keeping the receipts for things that you buy for your house that SD needs to use to show that you are also spending money regularly for these things as well.


I understand exactly what you are saying. Sure its petty but I know the annoyance is almost unbearable. Its not just this, I am sure it is a lot of other things too. You just keep getting the short end of the stick.

And the sad thing is is that your ex is also thinking SHE is always getting the short end of the stick! When you sent her the courtesy check of $20 she probably thought to herself "That damn ex thinks he's so generous sending over a measly $20 check for school supplies! Doesn't he know supplies cost a lot more than that? It shows how much  he understands about the cost of raising a child! I will show him next time by sending all the receipts!"
And when she got the check deducted for the school book I am sure she thought.. "Geeze, I can't believe he had the nerve to deduct for stuff at HIS house! If he hadn't butted in to my custody and would only stop yanking the child to his house all the time, the child wouldn't have needed two books in the first place!"

Have you ever computed the child support amount based on 50/50 split and your respective incomes? Do you think BM has calculated it herself? Maybe she thinks she is entitled to more just because she is having a difficult time making ends meet (which ofcourse has nothing to do with what she deserves). It might be best if you went ahead and calculate it and compare that with what you are providing now.

 When my SO separated, he made sure that providing her with way above what she would have gotten with a court order. He did this without an order because he wanted to make sure that BM will share the kids 50/50 and not hang on to the kids just for more child support. He even told her that he will reemberse her for anything with a receipt. It didn't work. She thought she was being treated like a criminal having to produce receipts for each thing.  Nothing was good enough for her so now we are going to court to get it settled.