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Ex is saying he won't pay his share of childcare expenses. The divorce decree dictates we each pay 50%. What can I do?

Skokie, IL |

We have two kids. Last year we had a full-time nanny, this year we had a part-time nanny and pre-kindergarten expenses. The cost is exactly the same as last year. My ex-husband states he does not want to pay all of the costs, specifically before-school care.

He has not provided his reasoning to me. His lawyer states that it is my problem to manage the kids in the morning. However, I cannot get them to 2 different locations and still get myself to work on time -- not without another person to drive one of them. This is the same amount of childcare as last year. However, we had the nanny to take the second child to her activities, while I took the first child to school and myself to work.

Our incomes and childcare needs are the same. Can he just not pay? What can I do? Also, he cancelled his life insurance policy --can I/should I pursue this?

Thanks for the responses! More info to clarify: the 50% for childcare is in addition to child support, which is taken out of his paychecks via SDU. The divorce was finalized in December 2009. He wants to go to mediation over this, but I do not. I am not going to 'change my mind' about our factual childcare needs. Any thoughts about just going straight to court? My decrees says, "if a party refuses to participate in mediation, the parties may return to court." However, I can't afford a lawyer. I have no significant savings, and I'm not interested in going into debt over this. I do not qualify for low-income services due to my salary, but I still live paycheck to paycheck. Should I lump it all together, the life insurance issue and this childcare thing? Or should I address them separately?

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Attorney answers 3


I don't have the benefit of a consult or casefile review, but based on the above - if the amount of money derives from "child support," (ie, it's 505 related) then he doesn't have the luxury of being stupid and not paying.

If he wants a reduction, he's supposed to file a 510. He has a lawyer, so I'm surprised he hasn't done so already.

In the interim, if you want your child support money, talk to an attorney about filing a rule to show cause. A contempt summons does much to loosen the purse-strings of many ne'er-do-well ex's.

Best of luck & hope this helps!


In my opinion, the before-the-kids-get to-school help that you describe is necessitated by your employment and should be deemed a valid childcare expense. I agree with your position that there is no meaningful change between this year and last year.

To buy into your ex's line of reasoning would be the same as saying that you have to be in two places at once.

Take him back to court for enforcement of the daycare situation and for enforcement of his life insurance coverage obligation.

If his failure to comply with the life insurance obligation is without legal cause or justification, you are entitled to have him pay your reasonable attorney's fees under Section 508(b) of IL's Divorce Act.


This situation is pretty straightforward. There is a court order that has not been modified, so he is required to follow it. If he has willfully failed to pay, he is in violation of the order and will be held in contempt of court. This is not an issue that should be submitted to mediation, because it deals with financial matters. Money issues such as child support and contribution to expenses are not to be included in a Joint Parenting Agreement, and therefore are not subject to the mediation provisions that are included in those agreements. Examples of issues addressed in mediation are schedule changes and decision-making related to school and activities.

The first step is to file a Petition for Finding of Indirect Civil Contempt (Also known as Petition for Rule) with the Court. You should attach the order that has been violated, and explain the specifics of the violation. The relief requested should be the money owed, plus interest. If you obtain an attorney, he should be required to pay your attorney fees pursuant to Section 508(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which provides that a party who fails to comply with a court order shall pay the attorney fees incurred by the other party. If the daycare expense is a fixed amount each month, I would also request that his contribution to daycare be withheld directly from his check along with his child support payment. Regarding the life insurance, the same process regarding contempt will apply. You can file a separate petition or add it as an additional count to your petition regarding childcare.