My wife's ex-husband is demanding that my wife let him claim a child on taxes or he will not pay his portion of his daughter's braces. He also said that he will not consent to any future counseling for the children and will not pay his portion of those bills that have accrued. Is this a case of extortion, and what can be done about it. We are in Texas.
You do not say, but I am assuming that your wife is the conservator who has the right to determine the primary residence of the children. Usually that person has the children in his or her possession more time than the other parent. That is likely what governs who has the legal right to claim the children as dependents, but I am not a tax lawyer and do not offer tax advice. If your wife is the primary conservator and the kids are with you and your wife more time than they are with their father, then your wife is the one who likely has the right to claim the children. In my opinion she should not agree to give up that right. If she agreed to share the dependency exemption in the Decree of Divorce, then that is a different situation.
The other issue with the Dad is that he is not paying uninsured health-care expenses. There are provisions in your wife's Decree of Divorce that give specific instructions on how to furnish receipts and explanations of benefits for health care expenses to the other parent. The terms in the decree also state the timing for sending the documentation, how it must be sent (often certified mail) and what must be sent. If she complies with those terms and her ex still does not reimburse you, then you may decide to bring an enforcement suit against him. The court will enforce the terms of the decree. Usually you end up with a judgment against him for the total amount he owes you for his half of what you paid for the health care expenses, and it bears interest at the rate of 6% per year until he pays it. Installment payments toward the arrearage judgment for unpaid health care expenses may be withheld from ex-husband's wages.
With respect to consenting to counseling you should also consult the Decree of Divorce terms on the rights and duties of parents to see if your wife is required to obtain the Dad's consent to have the kids in counseling. If she is required to get his consent, and he won't consent, then you will need to ask the court to modify the provision of the decree by bringing a modification suit. If no consent is required, then she may go ahead and have the children counseled, pay the counselor and then submit the receipts to ex-husband for him to reimburse her for his half of the expense.
I offer no opinion on whether he is extorting you. An enforcement suit for reimbursement of uninsured expenses is likely the best way to show him you are serious about following the decree terms.
While I appreciate the opportunity to weigh in on your question, I am not your attorney. I base my response on the limited facts you provided. A consultation with a family law attorney in which you discuss the situation in more detail is the best way to determine your legal rights and liabilities. I recommend that you consult with an experienced family law attorney in your county to get advice specifically tailored to your circumstances. In Tarrant County, please call to consult with me.
Too funny - what a nitwit. Okay, the child tax credit is going away. No such animal anymore. Now, everybody gets a standard deduction. No body being paid to have babies anymore. Secondly, sounds like Father wants to buy off on a modification case. Read the decree/order - are braces spelled out. If they are, Father has a problem. If not, then a clarification and/or modification is needed. Counseling - that should be spelled out in the decree. If not, then again a clarification/modification is needed. Court will help you out on this, you just have to get before it. Not a chance you can do this on your own.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline