Should my ex husband provide my daughter with clothing while she is in his care or is it ultimately my responsiblity to send her with a suitcase each visit?

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Should my ex husband provide my daughter with clothing while she is in his care or is it ultimately my responsiblity to send her with a suitcase each visit?

My ex-husband and I have joint conservatorship of our 7 year old daughter. She is primarily with me. I have always packed her suitcase for her visits. Recently, I have become very annoyed with the fact that he uses this to control me, by giving me rigid rules on what to pack. For example, she can’t repeat an outfit ever or he makes elaborate requests for me to pack things that my daughter does not own and will expext me to buy it. He refuses to provide her w/clothing while she is in his care because he pays me child support and it is my responsibility to clothe her and not his. True?

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your final divorce decree/custody papers will control.  Most impose a requirement on both parents to take care of the child at their expense while in their custody- with exceptions for things like medical care-- those bills are often required to be split by the parents.  It is extremely rare to see a divorce decree with provisions for clothing.  If your decree doesn't include a "special dress provision", then you send what you can and want to with your daughter.  Make it clean and cute.  To cover yourself, you may want to snap a photo of what you pack-- so when he tries to say later that you dress her "like a pauper", you have a visual illustration for a judge.  Just because he pays child support doesn't give him the right to tell you how to dress her or how to spend the money.  Child support isn't just for clothes-- it covers food items, school supplies, utilities, housing, and all of the other stuff to raise a kid.  Unless your decree says that he can dictate how you spend that money, then you spend it on what the money needs to go to-- the basics to make sure your daughter is adequately clothed and fed.  If he wants to see her in frilly outfits, then he can fork out the extra money to do so..... or he can increase the amount of child support that he pays so that you can afford the extras.


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