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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 01-02-2012, 08:29 AM
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Default Not Following Court Ordered Decision Making

On April 5th, 2011 I received the court order stating that the ex-wife and I have joint decision making in all areas in regards to our two children aged 8 and 11. If we can not come to a mutual decision then we are to seek out alternate help until we can reach a decision. I figured this would now allow me some flow of information and also help communication between the ex-wife and I. Unfortunately it has not.

Communication has been better lately in regards to incoming events like school plays, hockey tournaments and such but I haven't even been informed in regards to doctor visits or other issues involving school office problems which would require equal disciplinary actions and discussions with the kids. I am hoping these issues continue to improve on their own without pushing to hard on my ex-wife. I have contacted the school directly to keep me better informed and I will be doing so with the dentist and doctor too.

The issue I do have is in regards to extracurricular activities for which will be up for disclosure in April of 2012 with a possible attempt at mutual settlement again. My ex-wife has always made a lot more money then me and with that in mind, she has signed them up for tons of activities without my approval where prior to this year we have always mutually agreed on the activities based on both our budgets. This includes putting my daughter into very costly horse back lessons piggy backed with multiple dance classes at the same time. My son has been in year round local league hockey along with baseball and private art classes. The bill for this stuff is going to be a lot more then previous years and I am scared that the fees associated with it even when factoring in the income difference is going to be more then I can handle.

My question is, if we are supposed to reach decisions jointly and she made all these decisions without even mentioning them to me then am I expected to pay for them as extraordinary expenses? My thought is not to screw her or my children out of money but to teach her that the court order is there for a reason and that she has to follow it.

Should I do with this now or wait until April when it comes up for discussion?
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:11 AM
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Hmmmm.... Interesting angle on this one, as the usual dynamic is that a low-income earning custodial parent signs the kids up for every possible activity because (s)he only has to pay a small portion of the associated costs.

In your case it appears that the higher earner is doing the signing up and so carries the majority of the cost.

In any event, there is oodles of case law out there pertaining to S7 and reasonable activites. In short, if your kids were in hockey and dance while you were together, you are expected to continue funding. If they were X-Box junkies throughout the marriage but one parent subsequently takes advantage of CS/S7 to enrol the kids in million-dollar programs, then you will not be on the hook***

If there is an agreement/order that states that decisions like this are to be joint, but one parent is acting unilaterally, you can safely invite the other parent to get stuffed and enjoy paying the bills alone.***

Cheers!

Gary

*** There is no guarantee when you relinquish control of your decision making power. This is to say that if you go to court, anything can happen (within reason). So, although you appear to be "right" based on what you wrote above, it is always best to work things out between you if at all possible.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:54 AM
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Exactly what I thought. I was a bit worried because my daughter told me the horseback riding lessons were a birthday present from her mom and I can promise you that she will try to submit those receipts for consideration too.

Thanks.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:23 AM
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Should she not get your prior consent to the activity, your obligation to provide for it deminishes. Activities that are known to be excessively expense and outside of your ability to pay will deminish it even further.

So the ex never asked if you would contribute to a very expensive program you have limited means to pay.....I would argue that.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:48 AM
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If the extracurricular activities have significantly increased this year, without involving you, then I don't think you'll be on the hook for the costs. The million dollar question for these extracurricular activities: is it reasonable? Particularly, against your financial means as a NCP? The court will put the interests of the children first, but this has to be balanced with your financial means. The line has to be drawn somewhere. Otherwise, all those extra S7 expenses could make it hard to provide basic needs for yourself.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:58 PM
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Haha.. Basic needs for myself. I have been one step away from my girlfriend and I living in a shelter for the past 8 months. With $1200 of EI incoming coming in and $715 of it going to her it doesn't leave much for rent and such. Oh well, Jan 11th I am hoping it will start to look brighter.
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