What are my rights as a child support payer?

I mean as far as ensuring that the money I give my ex for the care and welfare of out kids is used for those purposes.

I keep catching her in lies about what I owe her as far additional expenses like dental checkups, medical checkups, childcare, summer camp fees etc…

Is legal action the only recourse? Asking the court demand her bills and expenses to account for all the extras she keeps billing me for.

  1. [Insert standard disclaimers here]
  2. These things vary substantially among jurisdictions. Where are ya?
  3. If you have a divorce lawyer, that’d be the place to start. Even if you don’t want to pay the lawyer to take action, a lawyer in your jurisdiction can point you in the right direction.

QuickSilver, here’s a GQ thread from last week about this very topic. In the OP of that thread is a link to another child support thread.

ISTM, from having read those threads, that the news for you is not encouraging. Chasing this money down requires a lot of time and resources – and even then, things can go against you in court.

Wait a minute – is she making you accountable for things above and beyond what the court requires you to pay in child support? If so, the onus is probably on you to ask for receipts and other verification.

Another option might be to make out the check directly to the dentist, child care provider, etc. That way you can be pretty sure the money is going to them, for your child’s care.

If your ex-wife objects to this, I’d become suspicious.

And, as others said, consult your lawyer.

Gfactor - I’m in No.Va. I’m going to speak to my attorney next week. Our settlement agreement is pending completion and signing very shortly.

bordelond - Thanks for the link. I hate having to open these cans of worms. Amost nothing is ever so bad that a lawyer or judge can’t make worse. I suppose a few extra dollars here or there may not be so bad considering the alternatives.

I do get receipts for the extras. The thing is, I provide enough money per month so that there should not be very many extras.

Since child support is supposed to include all “usual” expenses, I’m not sure why you are being asked to pay more at this point.

Does your marital settlement agreement specify that you owe 1/2 of the cost of extraordinary expenses such as these? If it does then you are on the hook but you should certainly be asking for receipts and writing the check directly to the provider seems like your best protection from abuse.

IANAL…

I’d suggest having your lawyer look over the settlement agreement. If that’s not yet been signed and put in place, it’s probably too early in the process to get a handle on what’s on the up and up and what’s not. In most instances, medical expenses are separate from support. It might make things easier for all involved if you separate these out now before the actual order is in place.

Be warned that no matter what, it will seem like an awful lot of money. That’s because kids cost a ton of money, pure and simple.

Additional expenses are divided proportionately to our relative income. In our case it’s 80/20, me paying the lion’s share as she only works part time.

Anyway, I’ve read through that other thread and I’m satisfied that this is the only solution possible under the circumstances. I’m not one to tollerate an injustice but she’s a good mom and the kids are certainly not suffering. I see them every other day and I’d know if they were being short changed. So if she skims a little off the top now and then… I guess it’s better than drag this through court for probably little if any gain, huge legal fees that will help no-one and ultimately make her more difficult to deal with in the long run.

I’ve got my answer. Thanks all.

Medical support is a little bit different.

  1. Medical support is part of a QMSO–the QMSO itself basically affects insurance coverage, but because QMSOs are standardized, the medical support provision is also typically standardized.
    http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/qmcso.html
  2. They usually say something like, "the custodial parent pays the first $100. After that, medical expenses are divided in proportion to the parties’ income.
  3. They have to be actual medical expenses. She can’t pad the bills.
  4. There are a couple of ways to go about it, actually, but YMMV as far as how they work in VA. In MI, if the non-custodial parent refuses to pay a bill, the custodial parent files an administrative complaint with the Friend of the Court, and must verify the amount of the bill. That’s about as far as it would go in your case,
    because your ex would not be able to verify the bill.

If she tries this a couple of times and gets caught in lies, you could probably get something put in your order about paying the providers directly.

Best bet, talk to your attorney, as you have said you plan to.

In VA it’s the first $250 per child per year. Expenses above and beyond are to be split between parents proportionately divided according to income or whatever else may be spelled out in the separation agreement.

Right, but its for actual expenses. If it’s a few bucks, fine. But if she’s skimming you, you should insist on seeing the actual bills. That’s not unreasonable. Anything more than that is gonna cost ya.

Yeah, probably much more than what’s being skimmed now and then. Fuck it. Call it the price for not having to live the rest of my life with that woman. It’s a bargain at that price.

I don’t know why she doesn’t just offer up the receipts anyway. Divorce is shitty enough without looking shifty about the whole thing. Sheesh.

Sometimes, child support payments are just not enough. When I divorced in Arizona, the court ordered me to pay $80 each month. She moved to California and took me to court there. The court ordered me to pay $300 each month. I could see that the $80 was insufficient to care for the child. I never complained.