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I have been divorced since 2009 and I have a 10 year old son

with my ex- husband. My...
I have been divorced since 2009 and I have a 10 year old son with my ex- husband. My ex is an unemployed attorney who is constantly making me feel threatened since I have a lack of legal knowledge. My son is involved with multiple extraciricular activities ( travel soccer, basketball, little league baseball) He had been enrolled in "karate" for the past 3 and half years. For months, my son has expressed he wanted to complete his goal and attain a "first degree black belt" and then he wanted to quit due to him wanting to focus more on other sports he plays that he is more interested in. I have tried multiple times to talk to my ex...even asked us to please have a "family meeting" to allow my son the opportunity to speak to us both together, but my ex refused because he did not want to hear my son utter the words he wanted to quit....this karate activity is something my ex feels is a "must do". After his last belt test, I kept all his equipment and black belt...reason being.. for past three and half years, my ex has purposely kept from me all graduation belts and certificates my son achieved over the years and I felt I deserved to have something to remember this chldhood experience by. I, personall have paid 50% of all costs for his karate since day 1 and have nothing to show for it because my ex feels since he drove him to this activity, he should retain everything!
sick dude...each month, my ex would deduct $50.00 a month from his child support duties of paying his portion of our sons health insurance and apply it to Karate ( I allowed this to avoid constant checks going back and forth) But now that my son wants to quit karate i notified my ex via email that I was going to 1. retain his equipment and black belt 2. no longer granting permission to deduct $50.00 from my child support since my son no longer wants to continue to attend these classes. My ex basically said, he does not care..he will continue to take him to karate on his parenting time that he feels a 10 boy is not "mature" enough to decide what he should be enrolled in. ( interestingly enough, my ex told me is our son wanted to stop after achieving this latest black belt he would not "force him" to go...LIAR!!! In addition, and this is the kicker..he also told me he will charge me if I do not return his Karate equipment in next 2 days due to him having to buy his replacement equipment..and to boot...he said he is going to continue pulling funds from my child support to help pay for his monthly tuition!!!! What can I do? Do I make a motion to the Court...Is this considered emergent? MY son is going to flip when he gets to his fathers this Wednesdy and discovers he is being forced to go back despite his desire to no longer continue. My son is very stressed over this because he has a difficult time standing up to his father and I feel like I have my hands tied once he is on my ex's parenting time...any advice would be greatly appreciated..thank you!

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Answered in 2 minutes by:
11/4/2013
Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns. I also happen to be a licensed New Jersey professional

Before I respond I just wanted to clarify that while I am a licensed attorney, I am not your attorney, and what I provide is not 'legal advice'. This is legal information that is designed to help you make a decision, but if you are seeking actual legal advice, consider retaining local counsel to assist you. I can answer your question but I just wanted to ensure that you understood my limitations based on how you phrased your question. Thank you!
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

please continue

Melissa,

Thank you for your follow-up. This truly appears to be a situation where for better or for worse both parents are simply refusing to see eye to eye and both parents are attempting to make decisions that perhaps are not always in the best interest of the child (and my apologies but I did mean to say 'both', I am simply reviewing the information as you posted it). Have you potentially considered mediation before pursuing this via the courts?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Not in a financial position to pay a mediator whom we used in the past. Honestly, mediation would not change my ex husbands mind. I believe he is testing me to see how far I will go. How can he force my son to continue an activity he no longer wants to persue? And does he have a right force me to continue to make payments on an activity my son does not want to persue? without my permission?

Melissa,

Who between you has legal custody, and if it is shared, what is the breakdown?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

We have shared parenting. Basically out of a 14 day period, my son spends 9 nights with me and 5 with his father. I am the primary custodial parent

Melissa,

There are two aspects to custody, legal and physical. Physical pertains to who cares for the child and provides maintenance. Legal pertains to who is able to make decisions such as doctor visits, extracurricular activities, sunday school, church, and the like. I am asking about the legal custody--do you know who has it, or is it likewise shared 50/50?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Then I would say 50/50

Thank you for your follow-up.

The reason I was asking about this legal custody is because that is the crux of the matter. Some custodial plans grant 'primary' rights to one parent over the other. That is essentially the right to overrule that parent's decision in such legal matters. If nobody has primary rights and the rights are indeed 50/50 shared (which I still suggest you double-check by finding the past decree and make sure that is indeed the case), then neither parent can overrule the other. If he wants to take the child during his time to martial arts, he can do so and you cannot stop him. If you, during your time, want to take him to ballet, he can get livid but cannot stop you. That is why reviewing the language is important but if indeed he has the same rights as you, hen returning the child's equipment may be wise--ultimately if the child will still have to use it, it should be with the child should he continue with this training.

What he cannot do is impose fees on you beyond the support. Support is just that, SUPPORT. It DOES NOT include costs for additional after-school activities. Those are generally considered via additional assessments against the parents. he cannot deduct, as you are entitled to the full amount, no exceptions. If he fails to pay, even $50, filing a motion to compel with the courts may be wise. The nest step after that a petition for contempt of court order, and something any attorney, even an unemployed one, would try to avoid. He may push for a review of support and even for assessments for after-school activities, but that is a separate request on his end, he cannot deduct his costs from what you are entitled to fully receive.

Now, as for the child's desire or lack of--that is irrelevant in this case. As the child is a minor, the parent can force or compel that child to go where the parent wants. Even if your child does not wish to pursue, but the parent has legal rights, he can make him take those classes.

Hope that clarifies.

Sincerely,

Dimitry, Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
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Satisfied Customers: 41,221
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Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.

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