My divorce decree and parenting plan state that my ex-wife and I share major decision making and we are to share auto expenses.
She purchased a car for our child without my consent and after I told her numerous times prior to the purchase that I could not afford a car or the expenses attached to it.
Does she have any right to purchase a car without my consent and try and stick me with half the bill if we are supposed to share decision making?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Nebraska and Iowa divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
First, when a court order exists, the parties must follow the order or risk a possible contempt or “show cause” action. Your ex-wife was the first to violate this order by making a decision you clearly cannot afford and a decision you had the right to participate in. Had you agreed to the purchase, this would be a separate issue.
A party who has not followed the order and apparently refuses to follow the same, will be asked to appear in front of the judge, and explain, or “show cause,” why they should not be held in contempt of court for their failure to follow the court order.
In order to be held in contempt in my jurisdiction, it is the burden of the party who has been aggrieved, to show that such failure to follow the order was both “willful” and “contumacious.”
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It is imperative you explain to the court that you were not included in the unilateral decision to purchase the vehicle. You will need to make a record so the court knows you are not being spiteful or attempting to be contumacious.
Should the court find the party who failed to follow the order is in contempt, they will be punished, though in every jurisdiction I practice in, the punishment is different, and is somewhat based on the individual judge’s preferences.
It can result in payment of the outstanding money owed, fines, a date to come to into compliance, attorney’s fees, and in rare occasions, jail time.
A judge typically has discretion to determine what the best option is when a party is in contempt., and it typically depends on how long the contempt has been going on and how egregious he finds the actual acts.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.