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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12620
Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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My children are 22 and 24 years old. They both live with me

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My children are 22 and 24 years old. They both live with me and I support them. My wife
had an attorney send me a letter to get half of the money she spent on medical copays and college expenses that she paid for the children. I also pay for my kids expenses but have not kept receipts as they are my kids and i don't expect my ex to have to pay me for half. I live in RI. my divorce decree does not specify when my obligation to my ex ends. can you tell me when it does end

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Customer:

Hi

Brandon M. :

Hi, and thank you for your question. You mentioned that you live in Rhode Island. Is the support order from a Rhode Island court as well?

Customer:

yes

Brandon M. :

Thank you. You asked about when your obligation to your ex ends. Were you talking only about a child support obligation, or some other obligation as well?

Customer:

Child support ended when my youngest turned 18 I thought the agreement ended at the same time. No end date is shown in my decree. i beleive in ri it ends at 18 my ex is looking for expenses after age 18. the children are now 22 and 24 years old

Brandon M. :

Ok. You mentioned college expenses. May I safely assume that neither of your children suffer from a severe mental or physical impairment?

Customer:

yes you may

Brandon M. :

Well, that's certainly perplexing. In Rhode Island, an order to support a child will self-terminate no later than the child's 19th birthday (see link: Rhode Island General Laws 15-5-16.2(b)). There is an exception where the child lives under the care of a parent and has a severe mental or physical disability, but anyone over the age 19 is otherwise considered an adult and legally capable of fending for themselves, including for medical and college expenses. What is your ex-wife's attorney's theory for you still being anchored to that obligation?

Brandon M. :

Were the expenses incurred before their 19th birthday? Is there something specific in the divorce decree in which you agreed to pay a portion of their college or medical expenses past age 18 or 19?

Customer:

I don't know what his motive is. He sent me a letter today asking me to contact him to set up a payment plan for the $6000 she says she is owed. I should mention that it is not the same attorney who handled the divorce for her.. No I did not agree to pay any monies past the age of 18

Brandon M. :

I should state that because the nuances of every case are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice until you can have your decree examined in person by legal counsel, but that said, it's difficult for me to understand what your ex-wife's attorney is thinking here. I'm not sure if he is ignorant on the law, whether he knows that there is no basis for collection and he's merely hoping that he can bully you into payment, or whether there's some piece of information that we're both missing. When, in my practice, I encounter an attorney making a demand that is seemingly without merit, I will ask the attorney to explain his/her theory for recovery given the limitations of the law. Usually, the attorney gives some sort of nonsense answer and I just ignore the demand. But occasionally, the attorney will give me information that changes the analysis. I would be highly skeptical that your ex-wife has any basis to recover what she is demanding, but I recommend that you have your decree examined by counsel and to ask her attorney what the heck he's thinking just to be on the safe side.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Yes is makes sense. Is safe for me to call her attorney and ask him to explain his theory as to why he feels I owe this money?

Brandon M. :

I will always recommend that any communications go through your own attorney, but if you're asking if calling an attorney to ask that question would be a high-risk or low-risk action for the average person, the answer is that making that call for one's self would normally be very low risk.

Brandon M. :

I apologize if that answer was a bit squishy---I wouldn't want to assume that you aren't the type of person to pick up the phone and just start screaming all kinds of profanities. I would assume that you are fully capable to make the call without blowing your case, but it would be irresponsible to make that kind of assumption.

Brandon M. :

... so I feel more comfortable speaking about it in terms of risk. For the average person, it would be very low risk.

Customer:

I may call the guy to ask that one question. I will be calm and I would never start screaming all kinds of proganities or be rude in anyway. I understand this gentleman has a job to do.
Thank you for you help I will be rating you in a positive way so that you can get credit for this chat

Brandon M. :

I certainly appreciate that. Did you have any other question?

Customer:

no not at this time

Brandon M. :

Thanks. I wish you a good evening!

Brandon M. and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Joe:

I was checking up on your situation to see if you learned anything from your wife's attorney. Were you satisfied with his explanation? Did you have any new concerns? If you have any new questions, please let me know and I will be happy to work with you toward a solution. Take care.

-Brandon