I pay child support and child care expenses and they are clearly separated in the divorce decree. Several years ago, my ex starting working from home and cancelled child care so I stopped paying for those services.
Now I receive a letter from child support services saying I owe tens of thousands of dollars in child support arrears because I was not paying the full amount.
How do I defend myself from being responsible for years of child care expenses that I did not pay because the kids were no longer in child care?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Texas divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
You want to keep in mind that a court order is valid and enforceable until it is modified by another court order or until your obligation in that order ends.
You state that the child support and child care were clearly separated in the order. Was there a provision for the child care payment to cease if child care was no longer being provided?
If so, then all you should have to prove is that child care services were no longer being utilized, thus your obligation under the order ended.
If there is not such a provision in the order then your best option would have been to file for modification in court at the time the child care services stopped to have the order modified to reflect that.
Did you and your ex-wife agree that you would no longer have to pay this, and if so, is it reflected in writing? You will probably want to start gathering any correspondence that you have had with her over this time period to see if she acknowledged the fact that you were not paying that segment of support.
It is possible that you will be able to make the argument that the child care payment was specifically for child care only and since child care was no longer being provided there was no need for that payment, or that she consented to you no longer making that payment.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction for legal advice on divorce and child support.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Amanda L. Clepper, an associate attorney in the San Antonio, Texas, office, contact Cordell & Cordell.