Spouse cannot deduct phone bill from child support


My kids got iPhones for Christmas from their dad and his new wife. I am unhappy that there was no discussion in advance. I’m not ready for them to have phones at 10 and 12 and I’m not tech-savvy at all so I don’t know how to properly monitor what they’re doing. But that’s not the biggest problem.

He started deducting my monthly child support bill from January 1st. He claims that because it is an expense for the children, it must come from child support. I can’t make ends meet this way and didn’t accept phones in the first place. I don’t know how it is now my only expense. When I told him that was not OK, he then said that the phone was at the very least an extracurricular activity that should be shared as well.

I don’t want to waste my limited time bringing him back to court, but that doesn’t seem fair. Our agreement requires that we agree on any new extracurricular activities before enrolling. If I take him back to court to collect child support, can I also ask him to pay for me to take classes to learn how to handle their phone security?

You have every right to be upset about this. First, to be clear, he’s not entitled to withhold child support for payment of something he thinks is a child’s expense – especially a gift he gave that he didn’t. discussed with you in advance. Yes, the aid you receive must be used to pay their expenses. But he also can’t choose what your household expenses are. If you file a complaint for contempt for withholding alimony, he will be condemned to reimburse it. But, the process will certainly take up one of your most valuable resources – time, something a judge cannot give back to you.

I offer two suggestions, you can send her a demand letter stating your disagreement and informing her that if you have to go to court, you will ask her not only to pay the unpaid child support, but to return the gifts because you think it’s inappropriate for kids their age to have phones or, alternatively, pay for you to take classes at Apple to learn how to protect them in their use of phones. If you think that would make him blink, start there.

The second suggestion is to recognize that children will soon be old enough to have phones. If you contribute to the cost, you can demand access to their passwords and have control over security features so you can do your best to protect them. Condition your agreement to contribute as an extracurricular on paying for you to take a safety course and giving you control over their use.

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