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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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Author Topic: Co-parenting: Shared Expenses  (Read 353 times)
Turkish
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« on: February 01, 2019, 11:38:08 PM »

I sent my ex a spreadsheet dealing shared expenses for 2018. I mentioned, but didn't include, almost $1K of ABA therapy co-pays she owes me from two years ago for ASD1 (Asperger's) S9. I've been mentioning it to her verbally for two years.

Minus that,  she owes me almost $1500 for this past year. I was BIFF.

She replied something like I'll take a look at it,  as I have contributed other ways these past 3 years, taking time off when the kids have been sick or on vacation and buying shoes and clothes though you have been buying more clothes this past year.

$3000 worth, or even a thousand?

The kids have school uniforms due to gangs in our Hood. I buy them on my side in addition to quality, not Wal-Mart, winter coats every other year. It is true that she took off an extra week last August to watch the kids, but I paid her $250 to watch her own kids for a week. That doesn't match her salary, but it helps.  I've never asked her to pay me to watch my own kids, and I remember taking sick kid days off when she said she couldn't. 

I was pissed and didn't respond. Later that day,  the school posted info for summer camp. It went up $75 each kid, still thousands cheaper than ordinary childcare for 7 weeks over the summer.  She texted me to ask if I could sign them up and she'd give me her half next Friday. Ok. I will.  Part of the money owed is for me paying for both kids last year. Sure, I write it off on my taxes, but that's only a discount, not a reimbursement.

I'm thinking of the next phase of orthodontia, putting her on the spot in front of someone (she hates looking bad to others) asking her to put it on her credit card and telling her I'll write her a check for my half.  I made the mistake of putting Phase 1 on my CC in December (which saved us money rather than financing it). I'm going to stand up for myself and do it this time. I'm sick of eating money
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2019, 10:11:43 PM »

Today she told me that she's taking the kids from Nor-Cal to So-cal for D's 7th birthday to Universal Studios. At best that's a thousand dollar trip. No word on back expenses. I didn't want to mention it in front of the kids,  and she's going to go anyway.  At least I made her pay for my lunch. 
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2019, 11:43:45 PM »

What happens if you say, " I feel it is inappropriate for you to spend that amount of $$$ on a vacation when you haven't fulfilled your financial obligations related to child expenses that you owe me? "

Probably a pretty major deregulation that you want to avoid?

She has set up a situation where you finance her ability to be...literally...The "Disney mom."

 Look, it's not glamorous to be the one taking care of the day-to-day "stuff"  - been there, got the tee shirt - but what are your children starting to perceive about who does what in the parenting relationship, and is that cool with you? Daddy pays the bills and Mommy takes us on vacation?

They have no clue as to orthodontics, therapy and special ed expenses.
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 08:02:48 AM »

My SO has the same T-Shirt! 

I've said it before that my SO's ex is both neglectful...it was/is near impossible for his uBPDxw to complete the basic acts of good responsible parenting and over indulgent...you need school supplies? Great lets go buy Costume Jewelry and go out to lunch but never get the needed school supplies.

For my SO it has come down to radical acceptance.  His ex is gonna do what she's gonna do and not do what she's not gonna do.  If she actually participates great, but he is always prepared for when she fails to do what she should.

The focus used to be on trying to get the ex to do what she should do as a responsible parent, and fairness in terms of the care of their children (it was never fair) and that just created drama and less cooperation. 

These days the focus is on the kids and what they need.  Are they getting that? That's what matters not who is giving it to them. 

I know it feels like you are doing all the heavy lifting with little recognition or reward (and that's likely true) and mom gets all the glamour and recognition for doing all the fun stuff.  But your children's success is really riding on the hard work and money you are putting into the things that really matter. 

If you are able to afford the items your ex isn't reimbursing you for, and the items are good for the kids are you able to let it go? 

As for the trip to SoCal, do you think that could be in response to your spreadsheet?  The spreadsheet shows that you have been spending more on the care of your children, shows you as a good dad so implies to her she's a bad mom (remember that black and white thinking). She's got to be better than you so lets go have fun in SoCal so the kids love her more (in her mind).  She is likely spending something close to what she owes you on the trip and on your kids.  I know this isn't the way you think the money should be spent but it is being spent on your children.  She is spending on them in the way that works for her...neglectful and over indulgent.

Panda39
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 10:16:56 AM »

Does your custody agreement document who pays for what?

Mine specifically states that we split all medical and dental co-pays.  Day care and summer camp are not mentioned in the court orders...so I pay for them on my time with the kids, and, if he needs it, he pays during his time with the kids.  (Usually, he gets a relative to watch them on his time, which seems to be an acceptable compromise.)  Clothes and shoes are each of our individual responsibility - the kids have a full wardrobe at my home and a smaller but comprehensive one at their other house.

If you have a court order that specifies who pays what, then you will only see the money if you take her to court for an enforcement.

If you don't have a court order, you will never see the money if you continue the way you are going now.  In your shoes, I would try to sit down with her and come to an agreement on who pays for what, and whether sick days or vacations for the kids count in that tally.   Then you'll have to be forceful about getting repaid.  Even then, it's likely that you'll never see a lot of the money.  It's not important to her to spend money on those causes. 

I go through periods of having a lot of resentment against my ex because I am shouldering so much of the parenting burden (although financially, we have it worked out okay).  It's normal to feel that way.  But you can either radically accept, or you can find alternative ways to insist on what you need.  (I ask for child chauffeuring help in front of my ex's mother - he can't say no in front of her.)
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2019, 10:18:59 AM »

She was going to take them on vacation anyway.  

I'm thinking at the next orthodontist appointment to tell her to put it on her credit card and I'll cut her a check for my half.  If I say it in front of the person, she'll have to do it.  

Yes, the custody agreement states that medical expenses are to be shared. 
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2019, 10:22:41 AM »

Is there a point at which you'd be willing to go to court to force the issue?  Especially since you have some medical expenses that are already more than 2 years old?

I wouldn't advocate taking that step lightly, but if she won't pay after 2 years, then I suspect she never will.
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2019, 10:45:33 AM »

My ex does not have a PD. However, he could be impulsive. We had a 28-page settlement agreement that was very specific. Ex changed careers (impulsively) without checking on the benefits consequences, and I had to delay minor surgery for our son until I could move him to my benefits plan. Plus, Ex made the move to commissioned sales without anticipating the up/down nature of the compensation. So I let him reduce the monthly CS, and I started a spreadsheet where I tracked his contributions vs. the obligation.

I did not see payment of the shortfall until nearly 7 years later, when we sold the house and split profits. But I got it, and he never questioned that he owed it.

People run into financial challenges. It's not unusual to work with what's going on. But if the financial arrangement is really out of kilter, I think you may have to 1) radically accept she's not going to participate, 2) she's going to participate only when you prompt or press her (the ortho situation), or 3) your custody agreement may need to be the basis of court action.

It feels like Option 1 without radical acceptance will leave you frustrated and resentful.

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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2019, 10:52:29 AM »

In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have agreed to below guideline support to continue putting into their college funds. BG means that she can file for more support without change of circumstances.  I don't know for sure but I would think it would reset on my current income rather than 2013. I'm making about 12% more,  and they might include bonus income this time (our profit sharing has been generous the past 3 years).
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2019, 02:01:52 PM »

In my state, one can file for a review of child support after 3 years, even if nothing has changed. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2019, 02:28:21 PM »

I'll check California.  Option 2 above is the likely best course. 
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2019, 07:17:37 PM »


I'm thinking at the next orthodontist appointment to tell her to put it on her credit card and I'll cut her a check for my half.  

I would recommend changing the wording.

Use "I'll figured out the reimbursement for my half" 

I like the part about doing it in front of them.  Then, don't cut her a check.  Wait for her to reach out, then send her the adjusted spreadsheet and ask her if the adjustments look correct.

Now her debt to you has been cut by "your half". 

FF
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2019, 07:31:07 PM »

That's an idea...

I was looking at old pay stubs today and comparing current ones and saw that I'm paying $200 more/ month for their medical insurance than I was when the support was calculated what I pay included in the calculation.  So on the off chance she wanted more cash, it wouldn't be as much as she might think. 
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2019, 07:44:57 PM »

Do you have any community mediation services that could handle this?
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2019, 11:04:33 PM »

Do you have any community mediation services that could handle this?

That is an option to look into.  We'll see if she gives me the $550 she's promised this Friday.

My buddy at work said he waited in the cold at 5AM to get their kindergartener into after school care.  His wife spelled him at 7AM by taking his place. I told him to tell her that she was a great partner because the last two years i was in line, waiting for 4 hours to register our kids for after school care which saved us thoudands of dollars and my ex was on vacation with the kids last year. The year before, she at least brought me coffee after 2 hours, but didn't spell me.  Yeah, I resent the crap out of these things.
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« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2019, 08:45:36 PM »

She didn't give me the $550 yet but said she will on Thursday when I pick up the kids from the dojo.  I wasn't supposed to see her today but I watched our daughter who was off sick so she came to pick her up. 
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« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2019, 07:51:48 AM »


Does she normally come through when she gives you specifics like that?

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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2019, 09:34:00 AM »

Yes.
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« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2019, 06:28:16 PM »

From my happenings, a lot of these issues seem to be about control or rather just having the illusion of control. With my Ex, I find that things go so much more smoothly if she pays everything up front and then I pay her my portion.

I think (and not an expert here) it gives her a sense of being charge, accomplishing something, and have 'control' that I have to respond to her in some means (this case financially). So that is what I been doing.

In cases if the expense is big, I might have to pay for it. And rather than having her pay me directly for that expense-- I tell her that I will just deduct such-and-such amount from whatever monthly payment I send her. Again, this looks and maybe feels to her that she isn't 'owing' me anything (or I am controlling her) and that I am still giving her something (albeit a smaller portion) and she still has control.

Just some ideas. I found they like to stay sticky with us exes, but not too close.
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« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2019, 08:34:26 PM »

I usually deduct.  But since one kids martial arts is deducted as well as my ex's MA tuition, I'm giving her less than $40/ month.  I made the mistake of not deducting ABA copays (and this was hard since the bills weren't regular or the same each month given how they kept books) I'll never see that almost $1k.

I'm going with ff's suggestion and trying to get her to pay the next ortho up front (which saved us $100 in financing).
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« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2019, 11:54:44 PM »

I agree with following FF's suggestion.

Here's the thing...the more you are enmeshed with "it makes my life better if you do this/that " ...a la the martial arts situation, the more complicated it becomes to separate your  respective financial responsibilities. It makes sense in the short term/conversation of the moment; but it gums up the finances 6-8 months later.

Bottom line - you are not only financially enmeshed; you still are emotionally enmeshed. She needs something -- you respond. And the response isn't necessarily advantageous to you or your children ( how did it benefit your children to put her on the MA account?).
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« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2019, 12:11:22 AM »

It didn't benefit the kids,  it benefited her by adding her to the auto-withdrawal and not paying an extra registration fee. She also got a monthly discount by being added to "the family."

When we first signed the kids up,  my ex's younger sister was there to sign up her kid.  The dojo owner asked for a bank account.  My ex looked to me.  I said, "why don't you have it tied to your account and I'll reimburse you?" Her sister.... whom I've never had an issue with... shared a look.  I should have stood tall but didn't. Darn my rescuing tendencies. So I agreed to my account being charged and months later,  when she decided to join herself, it would have seemed petty of me to tell her to screw off and join separately. Everyone at the dojo assumes we're married.  Not their fault though I was upset when my ex fit into it with another mother who thankfully left with her kids. 
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« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2019, 06:49:49 AM »

  I'll never see that almost $1k.

 

You'll never see if it you don't try to collect. 

I'm assuming you have a pretty good excel spreadsheet on this..so just work it into that.

Also..is there tax benefit as to who claims the kiddos?  Are you getting all that or is she?

The critical thing to realize is that you have the option to reduce payments to her to "see" the money back on your side.

Fingers crossed this works for you.

FF
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« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2019, 11:21:50 AM »

I claim the younger kid, she the older so we can both claim HoH. That's specified in the custody order.
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« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2019, 11:50:37 AM »

I claim the younger kid, she the older so we can both claim HoH. That's specified in the custody order.

Gotcha.  Since tax refunds are just around the corner, you could use that opportunity to press her for evening up balances as well.

FF
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« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2019, 12:47:49 PM »

If she didn't adjust her withholding she will likely get a smaller refund.  And I'll hear the political rant...
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« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2019, 11:14:41 PM »

She gave me the check for $550 today.  If I hadn't stood up for myself,  I wouldn't have gotten it.
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« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2019, 11:54:49 PM »

Lesson learned. Now don't unlearn it.
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« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2019, 12:14:28 AM »

Going forward, maybe you could check with whomever your future bills are with to see if they could directly bill her for her half.  That is what I plan to do when I sign up D4 for whatever lessons she is taking next.

I work for a small therapy clinic, and we had a client whose parents are divorced and they owed a decent amount of out of pocket expenses.  Dad told us X amount was his and the remaining (lesser amount) was his ex's.  We billed them their respective amounts, but mom never paid and now says she cannot pay.  We're eating it....technically we could bill dad as it is owed to us and not our problem which parent it comes from, but we care about our patients and are eating the cost.

You never know what places are willing to do for you unless you ask.  Good luck!
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« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2019, 07:21:37 AM »


Solid work!!!!

What's next?  Isn't there a dental/ortho/medical bill coming up that you want her to pay up front?    Then you deduct the amount owed  from what you would "split with her"?

FF
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