In our original divorce agreement, my ex and I agreed to split “reasonable” extracurricular expenses that we agreed upon.
However, we do not share the same opinion of what is “reasonable.” She recently sent me a large bill that I cannot afford to pay for half of my son’s prom and senior trip expenses that I was never consulted about.
Am I to expect that a court is going to require me to pay this amount just because my ex thinks that it “reasonable” and since it’s affordable for her it should be affordable for me?
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict the outcome of your case. Judges have a great deal of discretion and the issue of extracurricular activities is one where there aren’t a lot of black and white rules, at least where I practice.
You stated that the divorce agreement provides for a split of the extracurricular activities that are reasonable and agreed upon. Since you do not believe the expenses were agreed upon, make sure you provide the invoices or other documents you received requesting payment.
You may also want to review the correspondence between the two of you regarding the activities showing that you never were asked whether you agreed and you never provided your consent.
Also, the nature of the activities will likely play a role in the judge’s decision. The judge may look to whether the child’s mother gave the child a reasonable budget for activities such as prom. For the senior trip, it will be important to establish whether the trip was an educational activity through the school or a vacation that many students took with their friends.
There is no way to tell how the judge will view the expenses in your case but in order to prepare for the hearing you will likely want to provide documentation to support your claims that you were not asked about the expenses in advance, you informed the child’s mother that you were not able to pay extracurricular expenses and asked her to limit them, and that the expenses for the activities were unreasonable.
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.