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More ludicrous demands from BM

nothinforya's picture

Hi, guys. I have had a long break from having to deal with BM, since SD16 has ceased communication with her father and me (he has not heard from her since early 2013). We send child support, pay her health insurance, and review the copays from the insurance company's records and send BM a check quarterly for those. In October, my husband was served with a "show cause" notice concerning unpaid expenses that BM thinks he should pay for. These include a concierge fee for her primary care physician, massages, energy healing sessions, gluten-free food, tutoring for AP English, a summer "Spanish enrichment" trip to Costa Rica for two weeks at a cost of $2500, tylenol, and OTC allergy meds. She sent a stack of grocery store receipts with gluten-free brownie mix and pretzels, as well as quinoa and energy bars circled on the receipts. The rest of the purchases are blacked out like a CIA document redacted for release. The energy healing costs $90/session, and SD16 goes weekly after one of her counseling sessions. (Those are covered under the insurance and we have paid half the copays.) SD has had as many as 3 counseling sessions per week and just recently dropped back to one weekly. SD16 is currently on 6 medications, prescribed by a psychiatrist. Several are for side effects from the ADHD meds that we don't believe she even needs. The family practice where SD is seen has recently stopped billing insurance companies at all, instead charging $360 per year just to be a patient in the practice, not for any actual medical services.

The total demand is for over $6000, in addition to the child support to be increased, and in addition to the over $2500 we have paid her for medical expenses in the last two years. The total submitted to my husband's insurance company for SD16's medical care in 2 years is over $27,000. This is for a healthy child doing okay in school. The energy healer has no license to practice anything in Virginia, not massage or therapy of any kind.

To make matters worse, my husband's mother passed away in the spring, and he received an inheritance that he used to pay off the HELOC on our house, and put away the rest in a retirement account, since he has nothing saved for retirement. BM is going to try to get her hooks into that money. Unfortunately, Virginia has a precedent that counts inheritance as income.

DH has hired an attorney, since this is so complicated and weird. The attorney thinks he could have to pay for all of it. I am so anxious and worried. We had just gotten to a place where we could afford to go out to dinner once a month and have a cushion in case we had an emergency. We just had to replace the heat pump. Lawyer wanted a retainer of $3500.

Any advice? You guys have made me feel so much better in the past.

a_nessy_life's picture

Food is under child support. That hocus pocus voodoo is something that BM decided without proof of agreement for these sessions from BF. AND that trip to Costa Rica is also something that good ol Mom made all the decisions on. Along with the tutor.

The courts have enough sense to know that people don't get to make up their minds on spending other folks money and then demand reimbursement.

Who,is funding this BM? Where are her lawyer funds coming from??

nothinforya's picture

BM is a nurse. She makes a good income. She also took SD's college fund of $25,000 out of the 529 status and has that money, too. She kept the house she and DH bought which has tripled in value. And her attorneys seem to be working on some sort of pro-bono basis. She is not paying retail.

another step's picture

Talk to your attorney or go for a few more consults until you find one you are comfortable with. This all sounds like a bunch of hooey. It sucks that you will have to pay an attorney to get out of paying this crap but I would bet my house that if you pay this, more insane bills will surely follow. And definitely have your atty check out the 529 status, who contributed to the total of it and, if the Custody Order has any provision as to college payments, what impact her absconding with the funds will have. She is playing fast and loose as far as I can see.

And no Family Law attorney works Pro Bono for someone with a fulltime job. There are clinics but they are income restricted. Unless this is a personal friend (and that shit gets OLD fast - trust me - there is no quicker way to end a friendship than to agree to represent them in a contentious personal case!), someone is paying the bill.

simifan's picture

I agree with a_nessy_life food is covered under CS - even specialized food. Even in NJ, BM can't arbitrarily decide to send the kid to Costa Rica & bill Dad for it. I seriously doubt any judge is going to bill him for New Age medical healing treatments. Counseling probably - but you said he already paid half of the co-pays. You need to speak to a new lawyer ASAP.

Toastergirl's picture

I honestly don't know if I should LOL at this post or :jawdrop:

Who the hell does your hex think she is??

nothinforya's picture

CO says 50% of reasonable medically necessary expenses. All of this was just presented as a done deal. The energy healing came about from a suggestion from SD's counselor (LCSW, not a physician) that it might be helpful with SD's therapy. DH gave BM sole custody two years ago because it was completely impossible to get any agreement from BM about anything. Constant arguments and conflict, so DH chose peace. We had about 8 months of peace. It was great. And we will get back to peace again, if SD ever graduates from high school. I expect BM to sabotage that so she can get CS until SD is 19.

twoviewpoints's picture

Your lawyer thinks DH may have to pay? DH needs to get out the CO and see what and how expenses are laid out. No way should he have to pay for some of these things unless he managed to get himself the CO from hell in what he agreed to (that or it's worded in a manner that BM's lawyer can drive a semi through the loopholes). What the CO says and how it says it may help you understand what your lawyer said...or perhaps DH needs a new lawyer?

Your BM is like a venture circling around 'food'. She smelled the money as soon as she read MIL's obituary.

nothinforya's picture

His divorce decree is ridiculous. He agreed to pay for car insurance, school trips, and college until SD is 25. Fortunately at least the college has the phrase "if he can afford it" included.

another step's picture

Holy crap! Then the last thing he should be paying for is anything not specifically enumerated in the Order. And expect to be back in court over "if he can afford it" to prove that he can not. That phrase should be judicially eliminated as "void for vagueness" and no longer allowed to be included in Custody Orders. It means exactly nothing other than "we will fight this out when the time comes."

another step's picture

Of course it is vague. The FAFSA does not take into account the need to care for elderly parents, a health crisis, or any other expense that the parent may have. Whether someone can "afford" something is subjective - not objective - and therefore vague by definition. Affording something should not mean reducing your bank balance to absolute zero but many BM's and entitled skids would argue that it does. Hence, a court fight.

nothinforya's picture

The hearing is set for Feb.6 The lawyer DH used previously is on maternity leave with her second child, so he had to start at zero with the new one, who was referred to us by the attorney we used to draft wills (leaving SD out). So there is not a lot of time to interview a new attorney. I have been researching case law myself, and other than the inheritance, I don't see any case law that backs up her demands. It all will hinge on the judge and his (or her) definition of medically necessary and reasonable. The attorney did supoena the energy healer to testify and explain exactly what she does. That will be an interesting bit of testimony.

another step's picture

Sorry Sue but you are wrong on putting the healer on the stand. BM and the skid are going to testify that she was "miserable/sick" but that she went to the healer and was "healed/so much better." With no evidence to the contrary, the judge must take that evidence on its face as the personal statement of physical condition of the party. Unless the father has a witness who can say that they were treating the child contemporaneously with traditional medicine and that THEY are the one who cause an improvement in whatever condition, he has no competing evidence that the child was not helped and the treatment was NOT medically necessary.

HOWEVER, if this healer gets on the stand, the attorney can question them as to their education, degrees, licensing, methods of practice, any publications/peer recognition they have supporting their work, whether they have actually applied to the insurance company to be recognized as a medical practitioner for billing purposes and what the outcome was, and most importantly, what EXACTLY they are doing to the child. Basically the attorney can show that they are NOT providing medically recognized treatments and therefore are not covered under the Custody Order. Not to mention that they will likely show up in court wearing crystals and talking about energy flowing through their hands and aligning emotions with the flow of the planets. The attorney has the chance to demonstrate to the judge what the money actually went for rather than them having to take the child and BM's word for it that it was "amazing and dad is just being narrow minded."

nothinforya's picture

That makes me feel better. If the "healer" can be discredited, the payment demand goes away. I always thought that medical costs were limited to those allowed under IRS rules for FSA and HSA reimbursement, which require a physician's input. To take a suggestion from a LCSW and turn it into thousands in demands for DH to pay seems so ridiculous that we were laughing about it. But this attorney practices in the crazy court, so she may have seen crazier stuff than this.

another step's picture

Obviously I am not in your jurisdiction so nothing I say is legal advice - just the musings of a friend. But I once had a BM who had an LCSW on the stand claiming the tattoo gotten by the 16 year old was "medically necessary" because it "increased her self-esteem" so the father - who had objected strongly to it - should pay for half of it. I shit you not.

No offense to LCSWs. They are great at what they do but they need to stay in their lane - not play doctor. I had a great time ripping her to shreds. I would have had more fun but the judge said "I get your point - please move on." That is code for "you have won this issue and I have a lot to do today." In other words - shut up now.

There is no end to the crazy crap BMs will try and pull. The BM in my life tried to get mileage at the Federal rate for taking the kids to the doctor and dentist. Her own damned kids that she had - at the time - primary physical of. It was on the spreadsheet with the rest of the co-pays, prescriptions, OTC meds, and several of HER co-pays and scrips. As if we were not going to look at the paperwork....

nothinforya's picture

OMG!!! A medically necessary tattoo! Here, he probably would have had to pay for it. In the recent receipts, there are a lot of prescription payments made by BM's FSA. We didn't know she had one. DH has reimbursed her for half the prescriptions. I wonder if this is wrong in the view of the IRS. It just occurred to me that BM could be asked if she uses her FSA to pay the energy healer. She would have to admit she can't because it is not MEDICALLY NECESSARY!!

another step's picture

Exactly the sort of thing to be thinking about and telling your attorney. Leave no stone unturned. Sounds like you are gearing up for the fight. Good for you!!! Smile

nothinforya's picture

Ms. Healer, is it true when your clients reach the highest levels of auric healing, they can fart rainbows?

nothinforya's picture

Attorney says anything from energy healer's website or elsewhere is "here say". Likewise the statements from the insurance company that separate the counseling sessions on the codes for individual and family therapy. DH was not included in any family therapy, so why should he pay for that?? Those copays are already paid, to avoid conflict, but it never ends with BM.

You guys are all right about the attorney. It is the thing that makes me most anxious right now.

nothinforya's picture

Family court in Virginia is a terrible joke. Reality doesn't come into play. You guys would be shocked. I had a friend whose income was imputed to be $100,000 because she lived with her new husband in a good neighborhood. She is an unemployed artist who sells a painting now and then. We could get the same judge.

nothinforya's picture

My friend had custody of her children. She wasn't trying to evade anything. It's a big stretch to say a new spouse (or someone else who houses a parent and her children) takes on the responsibilities of the person they "take in".

Be that as it may, this situation is different, absolutely. And he can get the same judge hearing this case that ruled on my friend's. The ruling had no basis in reality. Since my friend lived where she did, she must make $100,000/year. So why not impute $20K or $50K? Where are the limits?

nothinforya's picture

I will. I felt so much better today after reaching out and sharing what was going on. I will be sure to update as this goes on. Thanks to all for being there!