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

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  #1  
Old 04-06-2009, 08:45 PM
scarycheri scarycheri is offline
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Default Special Expenses

Ok so my ex agreed in our separation agreement to pay 65% of dance lessons over and above child support. I now know that this would be considered section 7 expenses. Recently my daughter expressed an interest in cheerleading so I informed my ex about the commitment involved and the cost. It is about $1200 a year opposed to $600 a yr for one dance lesson. He has retained a lawyer because he supposedly over-paid for daycare costs. We were unaware that his share was to be of net cost, not gross. The lawyer really wasn't needed, all he had to do was inform me of the error and I would have gladly corrected it. He was plain mad about the above mentioned situtation. When I inquired about his choice to get a lawyer instead of working out with me he said it was for pure principle. Anywho, in the latest correspondence from his lawyer she indicates that cheerleading does not fall into a section 7 expenses and should be paid for out of the child support I receive. I am totally perplexed by this. If dance is considered to be a special expense because it is a extra cirricular activity then wouldn't cheerleading also fall into that same category. I have read the Federal Guidelines on this matter and am completely stumped by this lawyer. I was wondering what eveyone else's take is on this. What do you think a judge would say about this situation? Oh and not only does he feel he shouldnt have to pay he also won't take her to practices or competitions during his access weekend due to some dumb paragraph in our agreement stating that we can each participate in any activity that we choose with our daughter as long as it doesn't interfere with the others time with her. I would like to mention that he willingly takes her to dance and has since we split. Give me some feedback please
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:19 AM
kamkatie kamkatie is offline
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Hi Cheri,
Check out the below link, its the step-by-step guide to Child Support and has a section on how to go about calculating section 7 expenses.
http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/sup-...uide/guide.pdf
Extracurricular activities are iffy because technically the the NPC parent is only responsible for extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities. Helpful huh? Extraordinary expenses are defined in the guidelines as
-Expenses that are higher than those that the parent requesting an amount for the extraordinary expenses can reasonably cover, in light of that parent's income (including the child support amount), or
-Expenses that aren't higher than those that the parent requesting an amount for the extraordinary expenses can reasonably cover, but that are extraordinary taking into account
-the income (including child support) of that parent,
-the nature and number of the programs and extracurricular activities
-any special needs and talents of the child
-the overall cost of the programs and activities, and
-any other similar factor that is relevant
As I've never been to court (thankfully) I honestly don't know if a judge would consider this an extraordinary expense. That all depends on your respective incomes and how much child support he pays. I do know that the more they pay in support the less likely a judge is to compute extraordinary expenses. However, since she would be taking cheerleading in lieu of dance you probably have a decent shot, but you'd likely have to take him to court to enforce it as it doesn't sound like he's willing to pay. As well, you have agreed not to schedule your daughter in activities that interfere with his time although it sucks that dad would prevent your daughter from doing an activity she wants just to spite you (from the sounds of it).
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:46 AM
oldernwiser oldernwiser is offline
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I have been through this type of discussion myself and offer the following quotation from a judge's decision (my bold & underline):



Callaghan v. Campbell, 2005 CanLII 32922 (ON S.C.)
[26] During argument, I made the preliminary observation that if the Mother began to receive child support based on the tables, it might no longer be necessary for the Father to share equally the children’s basic expenses as at present. This is because basic expenses are subsumed in the table amount, and the support recipient is expected to pay those expenses out of the support she receives. It is only “extraordinary” expenses that qualify, under s. 7, for additional support by way of a pro-rata contribution. Thus, it has been held that the cost of house league hockey, for example, is a basic expense that is subsumed in the table amount, whereas the cost of playing on an elite traveling team might be considered to be extraordinary expenses. In the case at bar, all of the sports engaged in by the children are at the house league level.


So basically, if the cheerleading is simply a recreational activity that you would like your daughter to participate in then it would be held as a regular expense to be paid for out of the normal child support received. There is no obligation on his part to contribute to the costs as a special expense.
In my opinion it always best to discuss any such expense with the ex-spouse beforehand. Get buy-in and an agreement on how to handle the expense. Try to avoid dictating. He might not agree to cover the 65% you are looking for but maybe he would agree to a lesser contribution level if properly approached.

Good luck
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:51 PM
scarycheri scarycheri is offline
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I haven't enrolled her in cheerleading yet because I need his cooperation. He was invited to a practice with my daughter so that he could observe and ask any questions she might have. It is a competitive squad with 4 competitions a year. The dance he has been paying 65% of and has been taking her to for 4 yrs is recreational. Does this not prove a pattern of compliance on his part? I could enroll her in competitive dance and with our current agreement he would be bound to participate financially and physically by taking her to classes. He has already told me he is not paying for any of the cheerleading nor is he willing to take her practices or competitions.
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:32 PM
oldernwiser oldernwiser is offline
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It's hard to comment too specifically without the exact language in the agreement being known.
I doubt that the "pattern of compliance" would hold any weight if applied to a different actvity. Likewise enrolling your daughter in competive dancing would not necessarily bind him to contribute anything. He may be able to say that you have stepped out of the bounds of the agreement.

In any case using terms like "bound" is not wise in these circumstances. Your agreement is only worth the level of cooperation you both put into it. It is simply not practical to take someone to court over items at the dollar level you are discussing.

I believe that both parents should share the decision making and the costs of their children's activities, but as a means of practical reality it works much better if you can agree on something. Failing an agreement you may find yourself faced with a decision of whether to finance it on your own or not.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:03 PM
scarycheri scarycheri is offline
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Just so everyone knows, I have no intention of taking this to court. My ex is threatening me with it. None of this would even be coming up if not for the fact that he has decided to hire a lawyer to go after me. He wants to make some serious changes to our separation agreement, is accusing me of over-charging him for daycare, the whole net vs gross costs which at the time we entered into the agreement it was not explained to either of us. He is also attempting to say he has been over-paying in child support which is based on the support tables and his income from 4 yrs ogo which has increased by almost $10,000. He is pissed off at me because he doesn't have control and is trying to punish me. He knows I can't afford a lawyer. I have been corresponding with his lawyer for over a month now on my own. As it stands my daughter will continue with her one dance class and if he takes me to court I will fight for her wish to cheer but I will no persue it any further otherwise.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:25 PM
kamkatie kamkatie is offline
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Well, if he does take you to court then you certainly will have the chance to bring up the cheerleading issue. Otherwise your stuck trying to get some kind of compromise working with him. Maybe you could suggest a 50/50 split for costs, or that you will do all the driving. My sympathies.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:33 PM
scarycheri scarycheri is offline
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Using the calculation in the Federal Guidelines Work Book my ex would be responsible for 70% of the costs and all I asked for is 65% which is what our agreement states he is to pay for dance. I would even be willing to split it in half if that meant my daughter could go but he made it clear that he doesn't have to give up anytime with his daughter to attend extra cirricular activities with her and he won't. I was pretty sure he would use money as the reason she couldnt go and my parents offered to pay his share but he still wont take her. The gym where the hold the practices is 2 mins from my house so he doesnt have to go out of his way.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:38 PM
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billm billm is offline
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You said he won't take her to cheerleading - does that mean that it is not just about money, it is also that he does not want his daughter to be a cheerleader?
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:46 PM
scarycheri scarycheri is offline
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Pretty much, he doesn't agree with enrolling her in cheer. When he was first asked about it he said yes. Then I sent him the info with fees and participation requirements and he changed his mind and said maybe. Then he attended a "try-it" practice with her, as did I on another date, and he said no. He was not aware of my parents offer to pay his share until after he said no.
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