father and mother have joint custody and medical/school decisions are supposed to be made together. Both are responsible for 50% of unpaid medical expenses not covered by ins. If mom leaves father out of decision making process and purchases braces or designer eyewear without consent of father, is he obligated to pay? Example: a $450 pair of glasses are purchased for an 11 year old when they could have gone to Walmart and bought comparable frames for under $100.
If the parties have Joint Legal Decision Making Authority (fka Joint Custody) than the only medical decisions that either party would be authorized to make on their own would be in case of emergency, and then only if the other parent could not be contacted.
Father would have a positive defense to not paying for cosmetic expenses, such as those described, if they were for non emergency situations and even more-so if he was not consulted.
Further, medical decisions are major decisions that mom does not have the right to make on her own, even if she is willing to pay the costs. Joint Legal Decision Making Authority (fka Joint Custody) means that dad has equal say.
I would suggest that you consult an experienced family law attorney.
The Sampair Group, PLLC
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You could have an argument for the reasonableness of the expense of the glasses. If the braces are deemed necessary by the orthodontist then you would have a hard time showing a court why you should not be responsible for 1/2 of the cost.
I am only licensed in Arkansas. No part of this answer should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship.
Ultimately this is a question of whether the expenses are considered to be reasonable by the judge. The judge will also consider the fact that you were not consulted prior to their purchase. You raise valid points that can be argued in court. Good luck.
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