My divorce decree states that I am expected to pay half of all hospital bills and school supplies.
My ex-wife is unnecessarily racking up these expenses with expensive supplies and doctor visits that are unneeded. What can I do?
I am only licensed to practice law in Texas. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Illinois. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys who are licensed and located in Illinois, who would be happy to arrange a consultation.
You indicate that the divorce decree requires you to pay half of all school supplies and medical bills. In general, until there is a new order by the Court, you must abide by this obligation.
School supplies: Unfortunately, from what you described, it sounds as though your decree did not set a limit on the dollar amount of school supplies you must reimburse your ex. If you believe that the amount is excessive, try asking your ex for a list of required supplies and comparing the receipt.
If she will not agree to lower the amount you have to reimburse her because she bought top-of-the-line supplies, the only way to change the order is to go to Court to have them modify that portion of the decree. Many Courts will read the word “reasonable” and “required” into these kinds of agreements, and would not force you to pay for an expensive item that is not required by the school.
In addition to consulting an attorney in your state regarding this issue, you should also weigh the costs of litigating this issue against the amount you are actually having to pay for the school supplies.
Health expenses: In Texas and many other states, it is standard for the Court to order that parents split the costs of any medical expenses for the child that are not covered by health insurance. From what you have described, it sounds as though your ex is taking your daughter to the doctor when she is not feeling well.
It is likely that a Court would support your ex in that decision as it is in your daughter’s best interest to seek medical care when she is sick. In this case, you are obligated to reimburse your ex for the cost of your daughter’s care.
If, on the other hand, your ex is taking her to the doctor constantly, even when your daughter is clearly perfectly well, for the sole purpose of getting you to spend more money, then you might have an argument to the Court to limit your non-emergency reimbursement obligations.
Rachel A. Brucks is a Staff Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Brucks is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Brucks received her Bachelors degrees in English and Political Science from the University of Texas at Arlington. She received her Masters in Literature and Gender Studies from Texas State University, San Marcos; and received her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodists University, Dallas.