My ex wife enrolled our Daughter in all day Kindergarten, which is $350 per month. She says this is part of the “daycare expense”. Is this true? I think that all-day Kindergarten is school, not daycare and should not be part of the daycare expense, so I am thinking about bringing a motion to modify child support. Am I wrong?
Jerry in Minnesota
First let me advise you that I am not licensed to practice law in Minnesota. As laws regarding the calculation of support will vary from state to state you should also seek the advice of someone licensed in your state. School expenses are normally not considered daycare expenses. This does not mean that you will not be liable for paying a portion of this expense. It really depends what factors go into calculating your support. Some states include daycare when arriving at your weekly or monthly support obligation. If you child support includes daycare but does not include school expenses then you may want to modify your support. Keep in mind that even if your support is lowered you may be ordered to pay a percentage of the school expense outside of or in addition to your child support. In other words your out-of-pocket expenses may not decrease. I suggest doing some research online regarding the calculation of support in your state and speaking with an attorney in your area.
My wife ran off with a neighbor while I was out of town and moved to Florida with my two children 6 months ago. She will not allow me to speak to them on the phone, e-mail with them, or contact them in any way. When I asked her if they would be able to visit over the holidays when she would be in town I was told that would not be a good idea. I have always been very close to my children, but am now afraid that they have been brain washed and do not wish to see me. I cannot file for divorce because she only has a PO box and I was told that I would have to hire an attorney for her as well as myself and I cannot afford that. I am at a loss of what to do, and I miss my children horribly and want to see them. Is there any legal action that I can take prior to the divorce? During the holidays I will know where she is, but I don’t think I will have the time to file and have the divorce papers served that quickly and don’t have the money to hire an attorney. Should I get CPS involved?
Matt in Texas
I am not licensed in Texas. As laws vary you should also consult an attorney in your state. I recommend that you file something with the court immediately. The longer you delay in filing for divorce or separation the more difficult it will be to obtain custody of your children. You also run the risk of your wife filing in Florida making it more difficult and expensive for you to fight her for custody. Courts generally do not look favorable on a parent that moves children out of state and keeps the children from their other parent. The longer the children are in Florida the more tied to that community they become making it harder to convince the court to return them to Texas. Regardless, of the outcome you will likely be better off than you currently are. The court will order that you have visitation which you currently do not have. Again, contact an attorney and file immediately. There are ways to serve her even if she only has a P.O. Box. This should not prevent you from moving forward.
My ex-wife and I just completed our divorce. We separated late January, when I moved into an apartment. Of course tax season came and before I knew it she had filed “married but separate.” She claimed both if our children and also claimed head of household. She ended up receiving over $3,000.00 on her return. I thought I had to file separate (which I did) and claimed my tax deductions from our mortgage payments. As it turned out I had to pay $2,500.00. I have three questions. Can she legally file head of household? Can she claim both of the children? Did she need to go through some sort of procedure to file separately and claim the children? Like having me sign something to agree with this?
Scott in Texas
First, I am not licensed in Texas nor am I a CPA. I assume you are referring to your 2007 tax returns. Normally, who claims the children will be addressed in your Decree. If your divorce is final, it should say who claims the children each year from this point going forward. If you did not address the 2007 tax situation and the divorce was finalized after the 2007 returns were filed, it is unlikely you can address it now. The custodial parent usually can claim all the children. Most Decrees direct the parties to share or alternating claiming the children. It usually directs the custodial parent to sign the appropriate IRS form to allow the non-custodial parent to claim the child or children. Review your Decree and discuss the provisions regarding tax exemptions with your attorney. If this issue was not addressed, you may want to ask the court to address it now.
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Clarissa Finnell is an Associate Attorney in the Indianapolis office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association and has been licensed in Indiana since 1997.
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Dorothy Walsh Ripka is the Team Leader of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. offices in Dallas, Fort Worth and Memphis. Ms. Ripka is a seasoned attorney who has devoted her practice exclusively to domestic relations. She is licensed to practice law in Texas, Missouri and Illinois.
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