Contempt of divorce decree

My husbands ex wife has not sent my husband one bill for medical/dental bills for the last 10 years. Then out of the blue, she sends a letter demanding payment in full (over $20K). We clearly do not have this money but know we are responsible for these bills. My question, can my husband be put in jail for being in contempt of nonpayment of medical bills? He is and has always paid his child support on time.

Also, his oldest son passed away last March. We were notified in June. He was refused visitation for the past 7 years and we just didn’t have the money to fight it. She is still accepting his child support payments for this child to date. What trouble can she be in for not reporting the death to the clerks office and to keep accepting the child support?


You should go back and read the custody and support documents. If the papers specify that your husband is responsible for 1/2 the medical bills, then I suggest that he begin making payments. Make the payments by check or money order so there is documented effort on his part to pay this. If the ex has been paying all of this for 10 years and has not requested his portion then he can not get into trouble for not reimbursing her for that. If she took this to court, the judge would probably require him to pay the money back and inquire as to why she did not immediately give him a copy of the bill when it was received.

He needs to file a motion to modify child support so that the amount can be reduced based on the passing of one child. He can not be refused visitation by anyone except a judge. He should quit allowing her to refuse visits and should have a long time ago. Even with primary custody the other parent still gets visitations. And not letting a parent know for several months that a child has died!?! It sounds as though he has had no contact with her or the children for quite a while.
If the matter is pressed, she could be required to repay the money. If he does not file a motion to reduce the amount, he is required to continue to pay…if they have court ordered child support. Child support does not automatically reduce or stop until the child ages out or graduates high school.

You will need to go over the court order to determine your husband’s obligation for the medical bills. Normally orders contain language regarding the timing of these payments. I would suggest your husband schedule a hearing so that a judge can make a decision regarding his ex-wife’s delay in presenting the bills for reimbursement. It may be that a judge would decided that a 10 year delay in presentment bars her claim for reimbursement.
Your husband also needs to file a motion to modify support based on the death of his oldest son. He should include in his motion a request for reimbursement based on the amounts he as overpaid up to the point child support is reduced.