Non payment of braces and medical bills

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2007
Non payment of braces and medical bills
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 5:48pm

I am at the end of my rope. I am hoping anyone here has had some experience/advice with my dilemma. Ex and I have been divorced since 2002. The decree states that each parent shall be responsible for half of all unreimbursed medical, dental and orthodontia. Every quarter I have to mail him receipts from medical and dental for both our kids. Let me interject here that our oldest daughter has a medical condition and requires 4 medictations a month plus very frequent doctor visits. She also has braces and has had to have oral surgery for permanent teeth to be removed underneath the gumline that did not erupt. Not to mention the occasional strep, ear infection, etc.  It has been like pulling teeth to try and get him to pay at all and to try and get him to pay on time. He lies, he blows it off, he makes excuses. This has been going on for years and years. I started off sending him the bills return receipt. He stopped picking it up at the post office and said to mail it to him directly. When I would give him reminders he would say stop complaining I will pay you when I pay you. He is supposed to pay within 60 days of receipt. Usually it's months and more often none at all. He has told me to not send him reminders, he knows when to pay. So far I have had to file court paperwork twice to reinforce a court order for unreimbursed medical. The first time he owed me over $500. Within two weeks of the court conference he sent two money orders and I cancelled the court date. The second time, last year, he owed over $800, plus had to pay all my court fees- about $300, plus he was told he had to start making his half of payments for our daughter's braces. We had finished paying our half, he still owes $1,000. He made two payments on that after the court hearing then stopped paying AGAIN. He now is 6 months behind on the medical again and the ortho is telling us they will stop her final treatment unless the ortho is paid.

I am out of my mind upset. He KNOWS it is his responsibility to pay half of the medical, dental and ortho. He was reprimanded by the court that he has not been following the court order and that he is responsible. The conference officer also told him that he has made life very difficult and stressful for me by playing theses games. Yet here we are again. I asked if they would garnish wages and they said no. I don't see why not. I called his employer and they said yes they garnish wages if they have a court order. If it weren't for the fact that I would lose child support I would push to have him arrested. At this time I don't have $1,000 to come up with the money for my daughter. I am paying off my outpatient hospital bills from kidney stone removal earlier in the year to the tune of $4,000. I don't know what to do. I could just keep filing paperwork and doing it myself and hope the court gets more strict. I can't hire a lawyer but I am going to try to get free legal advice. Maybe there is something I am missing.

Not to mention the fact that in the past two years he has had the kids about 5 times. That's it. He never calls, never emails, doesn't keep in touch. Says he's always working and can't see them or it's too far a drive and too much gas (he moved two hours away) even though my husband has driven two and a half hours one way every other weekend to get his kids come rain or shine because he CARES. Ugh! I have seven more years to deal with this man and once my kids are adults I don't ever want to deal with him again. He's made my life too difficult.


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 7:20pm

Long time no see! 

Oh gosh,  I haven't had experience to this extreme.  Sounds like you have done about all you can do without an attorney.  Even so, sounds like he is the type that would quit his job out of spite.  Am I right? 

Music may have better advice, but I will ask this.  How old are the kids?  How many more years of CS, etc?  Are you the responsible party at the doctors office, etc? 

I ask, because if you continue to make sure you have a paper trail, and it is an official order, I am wondering if eventually, (even if it is years down the road) you may still be able to get it back.  A lien, judgement, or what have you.  And it is not like you are the one doing anything to him.  He is doing it to himself. 

"I'll pay you when I pay you," is so wrong!  You already do it quarterly, I mean hello!  Me and my xH do everything monthly.  We do have to "agree," however, on things that are above and beyond DD12 basic needs.  So far it has been a non-issue with us.  I get to claim DD every year on my tax return, even though we split 50/50, so I have a little financial, and emotional wiggle room with my xH. 

Good luck and I hope others can you help you more.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2007
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 7:41pm

Oh he would never quit his job out of spite. He has to support his wife and gets paid a good salary with one of the top companies in our state. The kids are almost 11 and almost 14. I have 7 more years until the youngest is 18. I CAN'T WAIT!

Yes, I am the responsible party. My husband, their stepdad, has them on his insurance. He's always in trouble with the law in some form or another. I just get really tired of going through the channels and he gets a slap on the wrist. He's been in contempt for years!!!!! The ortho is too lenient on him too. Do you think a bank would be lenient if someone just stopped paying their mortgage?

He's such a deadbeat. I mean he was even told they would take the braces off if he didn't pay. Arrrgghhh!!!!!!

Avatar for cowboys_grl
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2010
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 10:59am

Do you get child support on time? If you do, unfortunately, I would just be happy with that money!

Not only does my x barely see his daughter? I stopped getting chid support a few years ago!! I have even gone thru my state to get his wages garnished and he (or his employer) is now 'working the system' to make sure I am not getting what is court ordered. And there's absolutely nothing I can do!!

I, also, have a $5000 ortho bill, I am paying, plus I pay all the medical bills.  So, unfortunately, if you are receiving child support? Consider yourself very lucky....


edited to add: these dead beat dads just don't care about their kids & only care about themselves....I've tried fighting x for 'some' sort of support for 1 year, wages started getting garnished, now I am back to getting nothing again.  :smileyindifferent:

Kiki (hit my magic age of 45 and no longer TTC),but mom to a beautiful teen DD & 2 angels in heaven & married to my best friend

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 1:34pm

Unfortunately all you can do is keep taking him back to court, since that's what gets him to pay.  The reason that they can't garnish his paycheck is that for a child support order, the employer would just take out the same amount every pay period--for medical bills, the wouldn't know what to take out.  I think you can do this w/o a lawyer--maybe he'll keep paying before the court date, but if you do have to go to court and you don't have a lawyer, ask the judge to reimburse you for your time off from work.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 11:08pm
Hello! I feel for you. This has happened to SOME extent for me, but in my case -- dh left me $20,000 when we got divorced, and I got the house, so now that his finances are tight (I know they are), I pay 100% of medical and chalk it up to "at least I got a good settlement" My friend, who IS able to afford a lawyer, would have her lawyer write a slightly threatening letter to her dh and it would work,. Apparently, if a lawyer writes your ex a letter, and refers to portion of divorce decree that states EX owes you, that can be a faster, cheaper alternatve to going to court.

It's a SHAME your ortho won't work with you on partial payments. Are you close to anyone in EX's family? My ex mother in law is reasonable, and on rare occasions, i will call her if EX is doing something totally out of line - she calls him and then he improves. But she's getting older and I dont' want to stress her.
The conference officer may not be fully knowledgable about garnishing wages. Can you afford to consult with a paralegal?

I feel for you about the kidney stones and i know several friends who owe for outpatient medical and make payments, you are not alone! I have friends that will send in $10 per month, whatever they can afford

And of course, "document everything", as in when you email him about bills he didn't pay. I venture to guess that you going back to court is best option, but see if one of the women's centers would offer low cost consult with a paralegal - or even ask your church of any legal groups that help women w/children with medical issues. Pat yourself on the back for being a great mom!!!! hugs