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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 05-01-2009, 01:31 PM
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Default Extra-Ordinary Expenses - Pay for All or Some?

My husband has been paying at least 50% of all extra-ordinary expenses since his son was born, mainly due to the fact that he was a full-time student and was not paying very high amounts of child support. However, when he finished school and began working full-time, therefore paying much higher amounts in child support, my stepson's mom still expected him to pay at least 50% of all extra-ordinary expenses. Not knowing any better, he did.

When we met with legal aid a few months ago, we were informed that the only extra-ordinary expenses he should be contributing towards are those that cannot reasonably be covered by child support, such as tournament costs if the child is enrolled in AA hockey, or private school, etc. Things like regular swimming lessons or karate classes are included in child support.

I'm just curious if any of you have heard or been following this so-called-rule? Do you pay for all expenses, or just the major ones?

Also, because a status quo of contributing to all expenses was formed during the time he paid less support, does that now obligate him to continue contributing to every single expense, even though he's paying child support based on full-time income?

If the answer to the above is "no" - any ideas on how to proceed letting the support recipient know of this change? Without her getting angry and vindictive (as is the case whenever there is any sort of argument about money)?
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:56 PM
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Well if you are going to reduce contributions to expenses, you could present it to her that he is now going to start paying what is normal, and for all the years previous he has been paying above normal which was a bonus to her, which is true.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:11 PM
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Well if you are going to reduce contributions to expenses, you could present it to her that he is now going to start paying what is normal, and for all the years previous he has been paying above normal which was a bonus to her, which is true.
Thanks Bill. I just wonder if it is written somewhere. Our old lawyer, when my husband was paying based on part-time income did not even bring the issue up. But when we went to speak with duty counsel at the courthouse, she was shocked that he has been paying at least 50% (at times as high as 80%) of all extraordinary expenses, when he is paying child support on a full-time income. She said that's not how it works, and this she learned at a family law seminar she attended, though many people misinterpret the guidelines regarding the payment of extraordinary expenses, and the interpretation always ends up in the favour of the support recipient. It's amazing the things you can learn from different lawyers.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:27 PM
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I am in a situation right now where my final order stated that my ex was to pay his proportionate share of Section 7 expenses and has yet to do so. I had to submit receipts to my lawyer, and he specifically asked for things like swimming lessons, soccer, school trips, daycare, dentist trips etc. so I assume these things are covered under the section 7 umbrella. My understanding is as long as it is a reasonable expense, not something like a $700/week summer camp, it should be counted.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by time2lookahead View Post
I am in a situation right now where my final order stated that my ex was to pay his proportionate share of Section 7 expenses and has yet to do so. I had to submit receipts to my lawyer, and he specifically asked for things like swimming lessons, soccer, school trips, daycare, dentist trips etc. so I assume these things are covered under the section 7 umbrella. My understanding is as long as it is a reasonable expense, not something like a $700/week summer camp, it should be counted.
I don't agree. First, just because your lawyer called them extraordinary certainly does not make it so!

Certainly the area is grey, but a $700/week summer camp IS an extraordinary expense. That is the point.

CS is to cover all normal expenses. Section 7 talks about EXTRA ordinary expenses, some of which are necessary, some of which are optional. The necessary ones have to be paid for, the optional ones have to be agreed to. The cost of these extraordinary expenses should be split according to incomes.

The idea is that you don't have to justify everything, the CS just covers it. If there are extraordinary optional expenses, then they should be agreed to first (because they are not normal, you are deciding to spend more than normal on your child). The exception is extraordiary expenses that are necessary but unexpected such as medical or special needs. But for other items, such as expensive camps, expensive sports, big school trips etc, these are optional and have to be agreed upon.

So make sure to not call everything 'extraordinary', some things are ordinary and covered by CS.

Note that for me, I have the kids half the time, so I pay for both extraordinary and ordinary expenses for the kids. The extraordinary I pay proportional to our incomes, and the ordinary I pay for half (because the money for ordinary things has already been evened up by CS). We both keep receipts and then settle up every now and again for expenses for the kids that are not related to just one househould.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:00 PM
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According to the guidelines special expenses must first be found "necessary because they are in the child's best interests" and then "reasonable in relation to the means of the parents and child consistent with spending patterns prior to separation." Once that has been decided on it must be determined which special expense category it falls under. According to the guidelines only "extraordinary" expenses for extracurricular activities are to be paid pro rata by the parents. That means an "ordinary" expense would be included in the normal child support payments. The courts have gone on to state that generally the higher the child support payment the more likely an extracurricular expense is to be considered ordinary and included in the child support payments. Courts tend to look at what is a normal expense for families who are making X amount. So for a low-income family any extracurricular activity could be extraordinary given the limited means of the family. Whereas soccer might be an ordinary activity for a middle-income family but AA hockey would be extraordinary. For a high-income family ordinary expenses could include horse-back riding lessons and a golf membership.

The courts also take into consideration the nature and number of programs the child is involved in, any talents, and possible contributions by the child.

To answer your question, no you are not required to contribute to every single activity she enrolls your step-son in. However, I doubt all the reasoned arguments in the world will prevent her from getting angry and vindictive. I'll see if I can hunt up so case law on CanLii for you.
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Old 05-01-2009, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kamkatie View Post
To answer your question, no you are not required to contribute to every single activity she enrolls your step-son in. However, I doubt all the reasoned arguments in the world will prevent her from getting angry and vindictive. I'll see if I can hunt up so case law on CanLii for you.
Thanks Kam. I agree that my husband (or I if he is unable to afford it, as has been the case at times) is not required to contribute to every single activity. Heck, our court order states that special and extraordinary expenses will be mutually agreed upon "from time to time" as the parties see fit. Unfortunately, this isn't good enough for the bio-mom and she expects contribution for EVERY expense she dreams up, even if my husband has told her numerous times that he does not believe the expense is necessary, yet she continues to hound him for money. She is now threatening to take the court order back to court to be re-written and reinterpreted so that he is obligated to pay his share (of at least 50%, she adds) of every single expense (activities, camps, etc.) It's really sad that there are so many unreasonable and vindictive people out there. Many says she should be glad her child's father stuck around after a one night stand and has been financially contributing since the birth of his son, and regularly being a part of his son's life... however for some people, that's just not good enough. Thanks for taking a look at CanLii. I'm horrible at searching that database! LOL!
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Old 05-01-2009, 04:34 PM
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CanLII - 2002 CanLII 2778 (ON S.C.)

CanLII - 2008 CanLII 31352 (ON S.C.)

CanLII - 2009 CanLII 9397 (ON S.C.)

CanLII - 2005 CanLII 19811 (ON S.C.)


Hope this helps!
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamkatie View Post
So for a low-income family any extracurricular activity could be extraordinary given the limited means of the family. Whereas soccer might be an ordinary activity for a middle-income family but AA hockey would be extraordinary. .

I fall into this category so I assume that is why my lawyer is looking at all my expenses.
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by #1StepMom View Post
...Many say she should be glad her child's father stuck around after a one night stand and has been financially contributing since the birth of his son, and regularly being a part of his son's life...
He is the father so of course he should meet his obligations - I don't think he gets points for doing what he should - why should she be 'glad' that he is doing what he should as a father, as if he is somehow doing her a favour.
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