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Divorced Parents--How to Ensure Reimbursements For Kid's Expenses

A major issue for divorced parents surrounds requests for reimbursement of medical expenses and extracurricular expenses which are to be shared between the parents.  Beyond the stress of the financial burden that a parent may be under when the reimbursements are not made and the stress of having to chase down the other parent for money, the accounting can be a nightmare.  Worse yet, because the total sums of money may not be terribly significant, it is often not worthwhile to consistently file enforcement motions to get an Order confirming the amount of reimbursements that are due.  Of course, it is never surprising to find that the other parent miraculously has reimbursable expenses of their own, for which they seek an offset but for which they have never previously requested repayment.

The key to dealing with this issue, therefore, is consistency and organization.  

First, on the 1st of each month, you need to email a request for reimbursements along with all documentation to support the request.  You need to include a running tally of the reimbursements that remain outstanding from previous months and add it to the current month's total.  

Once per year, you need to file a motion to enforce your agreement for all money due and owing, as some Judges will not consider reimbursement requests that are more than a year old, despite not legal authority to support this practice.

Second, you must remain organized.  This means learning how to properly put all reimburseable expenses into a spreadsheet (and if you do not know how to use Excel, then take a free course at your local community college) and how to attach all back-up documentation (i.e. receipts).  Conveniently, there are actually websites that help you upload and sort the receipts, although some require a subscription fee (check out websites geared towards business expenses, like, to avoid fees).     

No matter how you do it, you must remain diligent in keeping records of expenses incurred.

Hopefully, issues like this do not persist and you do not need to hire an attorney to force the other parent to make these payments.  However, the reality is that many co-parents deal with this issue on a consistent basis and lose out on thousands of dollars because they do not keep good records and/or do not have the energy to chase after the other parent.  Taking control of this issue and remaining organized will reduce your stress and make it easier to get reimbursed, via Court Order if necessary.

If after your divorce you are dealing with a co-parent who is not making consistent payment of reimbursable expenses, contact an experienced family law attorney today.

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