Now that my ex is re-married, he has decided our children should spend half their time with him. Up until now, he has seen them every other weekend but cancels a lot — especially during ski season when he goes weekend skiing and they play hockey so they cannot go with him. He lives an hour away and thinks because our oldest just got her license, I now need to share in buying a car for her so she can drive herself and her sister to school from his house during his weeks. To me this is completely ridiculous — I didn’t agree with his plan so he just served me with a complaint for modification also looking to cut his child support. Under his new plan he wants me to pay him support since I make more than he does.
I have not gone after him for funding the kids’ 529 account or his share of uninsured medicals and extra-curricular activities. I just didn’t have the energy to chase him — he was never supportive of their hockey so I knew it would turn into a fight over letting them play if he had to pay. Now, I think I should tell all of this to the judge so support doesn’t change. Is that how this works?
These are really two different issues and two separate cases. Judges do not like when you mix apples and oranges trying to trade time with the children for money or only seeking money because he is seeking time with the children. However, that is not to say you shouldn’t now ask him to put his money where his mouth is.
First you need to file an answer and a counterclaim for modification asking the judge to order his parenting time reflect the actual time he spends with the children as opposed to what he now wants in place. It sounds like your children are old enough where their desires will be taken into account, so ask the court to appoint an ARC attorney for them so that they get a say in their parenting plan. They are probably more interested in spending time with their friends than either of you, but he lives further away from their friends so chances are they won’t want a schedule change.
Separately, you need to gather all of your receipts and send him a demand letter with a detailed spreadsheet and copies of the receipts for all of the expenses you have paid that he has not reimbursed. Ask that he now pay what is due and offer a payment plan as this is likely a large number. If he doesn’t respond to your demand letter within 30 days, file a complaint for contempt. Then, you can tell him you are open to discussing a global settlement before the contempt hearing — oftentimes this will result in restoring sensibility and peace — especially if you are willing to forgive some of his debt for status quo.