Ask A Lawyer: Should I Be Paying Her “Extras”?

Question:

My ex-wife continues to send bills to me beyond the scope of what I am ordered to pay via our children (7 and 10). The kids say that mom told them “If daddy really loves them, he’ll send a check home with them for this bill.”

I have perhaps started responding in the wrong manner by paying the first of these “extras.”  My ex laughs about this even when I explain that her approach is unfair and hurts the kids. She says  “Life is unfair, pay the bill.” 

She knows that I have guilt about the reasons the marriage ended.  But, it is really hard for me to pay this extra money. I have suffered severely high credit card balances as a result.  What can I do?

Answer:

You need to consult an attorney in your jurisdiction, however if there is nothing in your divorce decree that directs you to pay these extra expenses you just need to quit paying them.  Your child support is designed to cover these expenses. 

Additionally, your ex-wife should not be using your children to communicate with you; as such you should advise her that she needs to communicate directly with you.

 

Tiffany A. McFarland is a Senior Attorney and Litigation Manager with Cordell & Cordell, P.C. in the Overland Park, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri offices. Ms. McFarland practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. 

Tiffany is licensed in the state of Missouri and the state of Kansas and is certified as a Guardian ad Litem.

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8 comments on “Ask A Lawyer: Should I Be Paying Her “Extras”?

    I have been in a similar situation for years (although I don’t have the guilt associated with the breakup of the marriage since my ex left the family, then returned months later for her divorce and child support…She also communicates through the children and send bills regularly…I pay the best as I can, since these are usually bills that are related to the children (as commented by so many others, the child support is spent by her, often on her clothing, shoes, vacations, etc)..the last time I contested this, I ended up with a $5000 legal bill and the expenses “split”….no victory there…

    Franklin
    Regardless of additional costs of raising our children, the divorced fathers I know, myself included, will fund whatever is required. I found it odd to publish this advice.
    Get real. Obviously, I cannot speak about your divorce situation. Divorced women all around us flaunt monthly child support dollars in our faces. In Colorado, women can spend the money with almost reckless abandon. The term “single mom” now makes my ears sting when I hear it.
    Furthermore, divorced women use our children against us because they are not able to complete an “emotional” divorce from us. Communicating through our children negatively is a manner in which they stay close, continue any argument and gain some kind of satisfaction from it.
    Finally, maybe in the state of Kansas couples do divorce with civility and lawyers really do work in the best interest of the children. If so, my apologies. But, in Colorado, it’s all about money. And, unfortunately and demonstratively so – father’s money.

    Don’t see what you disagree with…
    Seems to me her advice is solid. She says don’t pay more than what you are ordered to pay and tell her to grow up. Why do you say “of course” you’ll continue to pay. Maybe you will. Maybe this guy will follow the advice of an attorney.

    Extras…
    This is ridiculous advice. As a father, of course you’ll keep paying the “extra” expense. Always pay because you love the children – forget the guilt. Child support is NOT designed to cover the expenses. In reality, the ex-spouse can spend the support pretty much anyway possible. Also, the attorney is naïve when advising this father with respect to ex-spousal communication. Once an ex-spouse has successfully utilized the child, for any purpose, it will never end. Just try taking either of these issues before a judge. You might be amazed at the outcome…

    Some would call this PAS: I’d call it brainwashing mixed in with extortion. And as far as your guilt over the marriage and however it ended: done’s done.

    be strong
    Please be strong and stop giving in to these types of tactics. She will stop if you are consistent…it might take awhile. Each time, just calmly explain to the kids that you already give their mom one big check each month to cover these things. Just hold that line and hold your ground.

    If you do continue to allow this type of abuse, it will get worse and she will continue to use this tactic hurting your children more and more. Each time you are strong, you are stopping a behavior that ultimately hurts your kids.

    I am praying for you and your kids.

    Abuse? But she’s just looking out for the kids…
    Yes, I agree with Lawrence. It is too easy to cloak abuse in “protection” from the other parent or set the other parent up for failure by baiting them in front of the kids.

    This site has a lot about PAS (search for it) another form of abuse practiced too often.

    Emotional Abuse
    This is emotional abuse. Guilting you into doing something you don’t have to, and then laughing at you for being a wimp and doing her bidding. This is a type of selfish narcissistism, even sadism, and it is moraly wrong for her to do it.

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