What rights does my husband have to arbitrarily deduct amounts from my support check?

UPDATED: Jan 2, 2011

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What rights does my husband have to arbitrarily deduct amounts from my support check?

My ex-husband deducts the kids expenses that he believes should be shared from my support check. This month he deducted $450 for tutoring, cell phone bills and extracurricular activities. In our settlement we only agreed to split medical expenses. Anything else would have to be agreed upon in writing and I never agreed to pay for these expenses. He makes ten times more than me. I plan to file a wage assignment but he has hidden income before in the past. This is nonsense because he makes 6 figures but he will attempt to claim it is a hardship because he is controlling. What should I do?

Asked on January 2, 2011 under Family Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The terms of the divorce agreement control--your husband *can't* unilaterally deduct expenses from your support which he is not permitted to under the agreement. That does not mean that there can't be a good faith disgreement over what is covered, or what expenses he needs to contribute to if they are not otherwise specified (for example, if the agreement doesn't say he has to pay for extracurricular activities, does he need to provide any payment for them if he doesn't want the children to do that activity? etc.), but in that case, the correct way to resolve it is to either negotiate an amendment to the agreement with you, or go to court for a "declaratory judgment" clarifying who owes what. Unless he does those things, he can't take money out from your support. To enforce your agreement, you can sue him on it; and possibly look for additional damages, if he is  acting in bad faith, as well. You should consult with a matrimonial attorney.

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