Financial Custody Defined?


#1

Any comments to the below items would greatly be appreciated. My X and I have 3 children. Have been divorced 2 years with only a verbal custody agreement in place. However, recently, I filed for a formal custody agreement in the courts due to prior some of the prior verbal agreements not being held up.

My X and I will be heading to mediation ($$$) in a couple weeks should we not be able to agree on the following items within the custody consent my lawyer filed.

***I’m really looking for some devil advocate comments on the below items, as I feel that my thinking could be based around myself still being mad over the circumstances of our divorce.

3 children (11, 9 & 3), 50% shared custody, our income about the same - however, he does make a little more than currently do, older children attend school in his school district, we live about 15 minutes away from each other. He currently has more family support for after school care, etc., than I (my family lives out of town).

  1. I have asked for my X to pay for ALL of their health insurance becasue he makes a little more money than I currently do;
  2. I feel that even though we rotate the weeks during the Summer, he should be required to pay for half of their summer camps; he does not want to becasue on his weeks, he has his family to watch them. He states that on my weeks, that is my financial responsibility;
  3. Currently, I am not listed as a primary contact since they attend school in his school distrcit. Should they get sick, they call him or his parents - not me (mom);
  4. He would not like for any financial exchange for child support to be listed in custody as we are both able, healthy to work;
  5. His income is often elevtaed with his parents’ being able to financially help with school activited and sports - he states that even though he gets financial help, my portion for any child expenses are my problem;
  6. Instead of placing my 9 year old in afterschool care and over the Summer care, he prefer that the 9 year old stay home with the 11 year old to keep them company. This also would result in him not having to come up with half of the expense of this since you cannot sign a child up for every other week, it’s a monthly expense;
  7. He has also stated that he does not want any financial responsibility in planning or paying for the childrens birthday parties (within reason, of course)
  8. In the event that either parent was to come in to a large amount of money from an inheritance - could the other parent use the inheritance against the other parent in calulating children support since the inheritance would be part of the other’s income?

Any comments would GREATLY be appreciated.


#2

I’m rather surprised you are already divorced and didn’t have to have this stuff nailed down earlier…there is a lot to consider, and I think your list of items to negotiate should be much longer!

How do you pay for sports/activities - are these split 50-50? Who decides what’s an appropriate amount to spend on activities/sports? Uniforms?

School trips…who pays? Who decides? My kids have trips each year at $500-$600 per kid - in high school, the trips are 2-3k if they opt to participate.

Prom – again, who pays? What will be acceptable? The national average people spent on prom this year was $1139 (I spent about $350 for a boy, but others are paying much, much more).

School -what if a need for a tutor arises? How about sat prep classes? SAT/ACT registration fees? College application fees? College planning trips?

College – it is not required for parents to assist with college. If you were expecting a contribution from your ex, it needs to be in writing in a separation agreement.

How about medical expenses not covered by insurance? I have a son with an IEP and some learning issues – the doctor put him on some medication, but insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s over $140/month. Who decides? Who will pay?

Orthodontia? Wisdom teeth – again, how will these things be handled when they aren’t covered by insurance most of the time?

Driving – who is going to cover them on insurance? How will this be handled? Who covers cost of car and repairs if they have an accident. I’ve got 2 teens driving now, and it’s a HUGE expense.

These are just a few things off the top of my head. There are a TON of expenses that come up for kids, and if one parent wants to be a pain in the ass, they will refuse to pay for half of all these things and the other parent will get stuck with them all. You need to figure out how to divide this all now, so that you won’t have battles each and every time an added expense comes up.


#3

Thank you for some additional items to cover. I have responded to ALL and would greatly appreciate any other feedback.

***Currently, he pays for their health insurance (about $200/mo); I pay for a competitive cheer (about $200/mo). As far as Dr. visits, whomever has the child at that time pays for the co-pay and their medicine. We have yet to have a child on a regular monthly medicince so, I can see how that could be an issue down the road.

***I would gather since he does not want to contribute or assist with birthday parties, he is going to be an ass when it comes to Formal or Prom dresses. I think that there should be a set amount and that he has to pay for at least half; possibly the birthdays, too.

***Currently, we split the costs for sports (50/50) keep in mind that his parents also have more financial capability than I to assist him with those expenses.

***I had not really thought about school trips, etc. Thus far, if my daughter has a school trip and it is during my week, I’ve paid and if it was during his week, he’s paid. I agree this should be included as to split the costs.

“School -what if a need for a tutor arises? How about sat prep classes? SAT/ACT registration fees? College application fees? College planning trips?” ***I also agree that this should be included as an expense to be split between us both.

“College – it is not required for parents to assist with college. If you were expecting a contribution from your ex, it needs to be in writing in a separation agreement.” ***Although I do not have much saved for their college expenses; I also had to pay for my own college. His parents do have college accounts set aside for each of them with their contributions towards their expense.

***Medical premiums have been split (50/50). I agree that any monthly medications that are prescribed for the children should be 50/50
"How about medical expenses not covered by insurance? I have a son with an IEP and some learning issues – the doctor put him on some medication, but insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s over $140/month. Who decides? Who will pay?"

***Orthodontia? So far, we have split the cost on this 50/50. One child already having them and another getting ready to have them.
“Orthodontia/Wisdom teeth – again, how will these things be handled when they aren’t covered by insurance most of the time?”

“Driving – who is going to cover them on insurance? How will this be handled? Who covers cost of car and repairs if they have an accident. I’ve got 2 teens driving now, and it’s a HUGE expense.”
***I had not thought about car insurance, car repairs, accident, etc. These expenses should also be split?

These are just a few things off the top of my head. There are a TON of expenses that come up for kids, and if one parent wants to be a pain in the ass, they will refuse to pay for half of all these things and the other parent will get stuck with them all. You need to figure out how to divide this all now, so that you won’t have battles each and every time an added expense comes up.

Ugh! I thought most everything had been covered, I guess not. What are your thoughts on a few of my other topics:

#2. I feel that even though we rotate the weeks during the Summer, he should be required to pay for half of their summer camps; he does not want to because on his weeks, he has his family to watch them. He states that on my weeks, that is my financial responsibility. Should he be liable to cover half of these expenses even though it is during my week?;
#4. He would not like for any financial exchange for child support to be listed in custody as we are both able, healthy to work; however, his parents often help him financially. I would have a disadvantage to the comparison.
#8. In the event that either parent was to come in to a large amount of money from an inheritance - could the other parent use the inheritance against the other parent in calulating children support since the inheritance would be part of the other’s income?


#4

** I should clarify - I am not an attorney, just weighed in on that list so that you think of all the extras before it’s too late!

Another one is computer expenses – geez – our kids had to lease laptops through the school (3 of them) – these computers are so limited that they still needed “real” computers at home. Computers laptops tend to last around 2 years before they start falling apart or need to be updated – constant big expense. If it’s not in writing, I can see how one parent might put their foot down and not want to pay a lot of these extras that are essentials nowadays!

As for camps - if your salary is about equal, I would personally be inclined to let him cover his weeks and you cover yours in the summer. With the ymca camps, you don’t have to do monthly, you can just do weekly. 9 and 11 are tricky – while they could stay by themselves, they probably need a little more structure and supervision for extended periods.


#5

1. I have asked for my X to pay for ALL of their health insurance becasue he makes a little more money than I currently do;
The child support calculator factors in health insurance, so his paying health insurance would be factored into any child support you were to receive.

2. I feel that even though we rotate the weeks during the Summer, he should be required to pay for half of their summer camps; he does not want to becasue on his weeks, he has his family to watch them. He states that on my weeks, that is my financial responsibility;

It is standard for camps and extra curricular’s to be split 50/50. Both parties must mutually agree to camps and extra-curriculars. This is so not one parent can unilaterally decide to sign the child up for a activity that the other parent cannot afford. However, work related child care is obviously not optional, and receipts should be provided. Additionally, usually there are clauses added so that one parent cannot book child care on the other parents time.

3. Currently, I am not listed as a primary contact since they attend school in his school distrcit. Should they get sick, they call him or his parents - not me (mom);
With joint custody should should easily be able to set yourself and your ex-husband up as primary contacts.

4. He would not like for any financial exchange for child support to be listed in custody as we are both able, healthy to work;
Disagree, child support should be included whether it be him owing you or vice versa. It’s not about the ability to work, it’s about supporting the needs of the children.

5. His income is often elevtaed with his parents’ being able to financially help with school activited and sports - he states that even though he gets financial help, my portion for any child expenses are my problem;
His parents income are no reflection of his income. They are not financially responsible for your children. Basically – it’s nice they are helping him and it sucks you don’t have help but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. You could easily meet Mr.Right and he could help you pay for your half – I would assume you wouldn’t want your ex to claim the same argument.

6. Instead of placing my 9 year old in afterschool care and over the Summer care, he prefer that the 9 year old stay home with the 11 year old to keep them company. This also would result in him not having to come up with half of the expense of this since you cannot sign a child up for every other week, it’s a monthly expense;
This is a family matter. Some kids are mature and responsible enough to be home alone for short or extended periods of time, some are not. Just depends on the kids. I feel like in the event of work related care that if there is no other option than a monthly after school fee then he is obligated to pay half. Whether he chooses to utilize it on his time is another matter. Also – most summer camps run weekly, so in that matter he should only be responsible for half the amount on weeks they are in need of care on your time.

7. He has also stated that he does not want any financial responsibility in planning or paying for the childrens birthday parties (within reason, of course)
So throw your own separate party. Parties, proms, birthday gifts are not critical to rearing a child and are usually items not included in agreements. I think it’s a gross injustice to hold a parent responsible for luxury purchases and lavish events. The costs are highly variable. Now – I think it’s nice for parents to cooperate to financially and logistically put together things for their kids, but I’ve never seen it as a down-right requirement.

8. In the event that either parent was to come in to a large amount of money from an inheritance - could the other parent use the inheritance against the other parent in calulating children support since the inheritance would be part of the other’s income?
I had read at one point that windfall money, inheritance etc is usually not counted but it depends on the circumstances.


#6


***Currently, he pays for their health insurance (about $200/mo); I pay for a competitive cheer (about $200/mo). As far as Dr. visits, whomever has the child at that time pays for the co-pay and their medicine. We have yet to have a child on a regular monthly medicince so, I can see how that could be an issue down the road.

I think the standard is that the parent receiving child support is responsible for the first $250 worth of out of pocket expenses for the year and then it is split based on income after that.

***I would gather since he does not want to contribute or assist with birthday parties, he is going to be an ass when it comes to Formal or Prom dresses. I think that there should be a set amount and that he has to pay for at least half; possibly the birthdays, too.
I’ve never ever seen anything like this…

***Currently, we split the costs for sports (50/50) keep in mind that his parents also have more financial capability than I to assist him with those expenses.

Again, Good for him, life isn’t fair. One day the shoe could be on the other foot.

***I had not really thought about school trips, etc. Thus far, if my daughter has a school trip and it is during my week, I’ve paid and if it was during his week, he’s paid. I agree this should be included as to split the costs.
I would consider this an extra-curricular that would be split 50/50 if it is mutually agreed to.

“School -what if a need for a tutor arises? How about sat prep classes? SAT/ACT registration fees? College application fees? College planning trips?” ***I also agree that this should be included as an expense to be split between us both.

“College – it is not required for parents to assist with college. If you were expecting a contribution from your ex, it needs to be in writing in a separation agreement.” ***Although I do not have much saved for their college expenses; I also had to pay for my own college. His parents do have college accounts set aside for each of them with their contributions towards their expense.
Agree with the previous poster… the only way you’ll get him to pay for college is if he agrees. A court won’t force him to pay for that.

***Medical premiums have been split (50/50). I agree that any monthly medications that are prescribed for the children should be 50/50
"How about medical expenses not covered by insurance? I have a son with an IEP and some learning issues – the doctor put him on some medication, but insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s over $140/month. Who decides? Who will pay?"
See above.

***Orthodontia? So far, we have split the cost on this 50/50. One child already having them and another getting ready to have them.
"Orthodontia/Wisdom teeth – again, how will these things be handled when they aren’t covered by insurance most of the time?"

See above but I think orthodontia is one of those things that needs to be mutually agreed upon. Most of the time braces are not necessary (certainly a nice to have but generally cosmetic). Also the types of braces vary from traditional to invisiline so the price can be inflated.

“Driving – who is going to cover them on insurance? How will this be handled? Who covers cost of car and repairs if they have an accident. I’ve got 2 teens driving now, and it’s a HUGE expense.”
***I had not thought about car insurance, car repairs, accident, etc. These expenses should also be split?

Again, I’ve never seen this included in any agreement. I would think he would need to voluntarily agree to this.


#7

Thank you for much comments and advice. I would like to add the the child custody agreement was not addressed at the time of the divorce due to not being able to think straight; unable to handle more stresses. Looking back on it, yes it should have been taken care of since it is now re-opening the wounds of the divorce.

I certainly feel as we are heading towards the date of mediation that I’m still in Awh… of how he has become so shelfish. I feel that his selfish decisions will only effect the children but somehow somehow I think he is just trying to punish me.

Why is it that any big lessons seem to go: I wish I knew then what I knew now!

Should anyone have any addtional comments or suggestions for the upcoming child custody agreement - I’m all ears.

Thank you!


#8

I would just know when to pick your battles. If prom is only going to cost about $400 a parent, but you want to mediate over it, you could be spending in lawyers fees well above what you would receive, so you end up at a loss.

I think in terms of financial agreements you need to focus on what’s reasonable, achievable and provides for the basic needs of the children. If you can get a few “nice to haves” in, that’s great, but don’t sweat that stuff too much. If he is being selfish that will come out in the end – his children will see this.


#9

The child support guidelines include costs for day care (including summer, track out, and before/after-school care) and health insurance in the calculation for support. If you must pay for these services, it will be included in the calculations, and divided pro rata based on income. The courts will generally not include in the order payment for nonessential expenses like prom and car insurance.

If his parents choose to gift gifts regularly to help with expenses, this could be included as income as could an inheritance.


#10

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