Monday, January 4th, Princess and I had our annual eye exams. As usual, my vision had only changed minimally from the previous year (still need corrective lenses for distance; my vision is roughly 20/50), and since the insurance plan covers lenses every year but frames only every OTHER year, I opted to wait until next year to get a new set. I actually have three pair -- one "back-up" that I use in the house for watching t.v./movies, one "good" pair (the most recent prescription) that I use for driving and watching movies on the big screen, and my 'scrip sunglasses.
Princess, however, has apparently inherited the vision of a mole. HAHA! J/K. Seriously, though, it's bad. She's had vision problems since she was 18months old. Her first few tests involved pictures instead of letters! I mostly blame my side of the family; namely, my bio-parents. Dad, Mom, and all bio-sibs wear some form of corrective lenses, as does her bio-dad, G-gpa, G-gma, and a few others on that side.
As most split families know, the custodial parent is the one who gets to make all decisions regarding medical care for joint children, unless there is an emergency situation while the child is with the non-custodial parent. Since bio-dad (B.D.) has had no parenting time since November of 2007, that is no longer an issue. However, although the typical court orders in split families order the non-custodial to cover the child under their insurance plans and gives the non-custodial 30 days to pay their (usually) 1/2 of all uninsured expenses, our orders are a little different.
B.D. has had "issues" holding down a job (as far as I know right now, he's supposedly self-employed building & maintaining websites), and therefore can't (or won't) keep insurance for her. Since he is currently on, among other things, our state-paid insurance program, and has been for quite some time, she is covered under my insurance plan. Under my husband's employer, as with most plans these days, step-children count as "children" and are entitled to coverage.
B.D. has also had issues making sure to pay me within the 30 days, and the correct amount (he has, in the past, chosen to send his half of Princess' bills directly to the provider, after I've already paid it in full, which confuses their billing departments & makes for a lot of extra work for them to process his payment and send me a check for that amount). Our current order says he must pay ME within 10 days of me sending him a bill (which is usually emailed to him). I even had to add another document stating exactly how the checks must be written, because they would come to me illegible or incorrectly written or unsigned, etc... Fighting me is quid pro quo, it seems; even with something as simple as writing a check.
Now, our court orders are VERY specific, so I'm not sure why there has been these issues, aside from the fact that he rarely is fully aware of most of the emails I send; choosing, instead, to let his wife be in charge of his parenting issues, emails, etc with me. His wife's childish antics, however, are another (very long) story, and aren't really the subject of this blog. So, of course, in typical fashion, I sent him a notice telling him (as is required of me) about Princess' eye doc appointment, as well as what the co-pay is (same as it's always been), and that she needs another set of lenses (bi-focals this time), and that I, of course, had them put on the polycarb coating again (as I always have with her), as well as what that costs.
In typical fashion, I get a nastygram which states that "he" wants a real bill from the doc's office, and refuses to pay for the polycarb, since that isn't a "necessary medical expense". However, that doesn't matter... I want it done, it's a reasonable thing to do, and you will reimburse me for it. Total cost of the polycarb & co-pay equalled a whopping $65 (so he owes me $32.50).
At this point, I was only mildly irritated. I had considered just bagging the whole thing. THIS is exactly why I have asked only one other time since his loss of P/T for reimbursement; I don't want to deal with this crap. There's no reason for it, and in the end, whether he likes it or not, when I send him a bill, he has to pay these things. In the grand scheme of things, the uninsured stuff doesn't even add up to a whole lot, anyway...
BUT, I decided, the pain-in-the-ass factor of the emails his wife sends me doesn't eliminate the fact that he still owes me this money. He has LEGAL, FINANCIAL obligations to his daughter and I; NONE of which he's followed in the last two+ years, and ALL of which (not to mention, for instance, the way emails are written -- they're supposed to be "business-like in tone & manner") could land him in jail (he's on bench probation still, and has already been threatened by the judge at least twice for this crap)... if I choose to ask for it. The reasons I haven't asked for jailtime, yet, is a whole other story; one I'm also not getting into on this blog.
The point is this: he has an obligation to pay for ANYTHING medical or dental or mental health or vision that I think is something she needs. As an ACTIVE 10yo child, I deem polycarb coating necessary. The judge even told him the last time "he" (I say "he" 'cuz even though the emails are signed with his name, he's admitted that his wife usually writes them) tried to get out of paying for this same thing that he doesn't have that choice. You can bet your butt that were the shoe to be on the other foot, they'd fully expect to be paid.
So, I spent a couple days going through my documentation, and I spoke to my attorney a couple of times. I located three relevant judgments, and quoted them in my response email. I also explained a few things. For instance, "uninsured medical costs" means anything not covered by insurance, NOT (as they believe) anything they feel like paying after insurance kicks in. I, as her mother & custodial parent, have the explicit right to determine what is and is not a reasonable procedure, who can treat her, and a number of other things. THAT covers this polycarb coating. I say it's necessary; it's necessary. You don't like it, too bad.
After sending that email (no response as of yet), a friend of mine notified me of a change to BD's wife's profile pages on YAHOO. It seems she's been busy; looking up bible quotes to admonish me for my "evil doings" or something. On her own, she states she is, "Looking forward to financial peace and..." (the rest is a religious message). On their supposed shared one, she laments my asking for reimbursement for half of Princess' vision costs by stating, "...is amused that some people think we would just blindly give money to greedy liars without proof of expenses incurred!". (Since then, her personal page has been updated twice. Once, to say, "Luke 12:15 NLT - Then he said, 'Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.' " and now says, "Don't bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked... they will soon die - Psalm 37:1-2 MSG" -- I must say, it's interesting that she uses bible quotes, from different bibles nonetheless, when I don't believe in that crap.)
First, I'd like to note that living on government-funded programs up the wazzoo (WIC, housing, and medical care) is NOT, no matter how you look at it, living in financial peace. That is, unless you've made peace with the fact that you LIVE ON GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE!! I did find out last week that she was talking about a class being offered at their church... One of the financial gurus is offering them.
Second, they have proof of expenses incurred! Try actually READING the many court orders we have! Those clearly state not only that I am (again) within my rights to demand half of Princess' medical bills be paid to me by B.D., but also that he owes me a HUGE chunk of money (I don't need it, but that doesn't cancel the fact that he owes it)!
Every month that the child support goes unpaid (in full) is a potential contempt charge (it's at $6300+ and counting -- 27 months, so far, I think). Every month the attorney's fees (there are six of them) go unpaid, those, too, are each a potential contempt charge. Both the c.s. and the attorney's fees are accruing 9%/year interest. Every nastygram email I get are potential contempt charges. That's almost $30,000 he owes me.
The only peace they're ever going to get from me will come from (1) paying every dime owed, then continuing to stay current, and obey ALL court orders (like THAT will ever happen), or (2) signing that one set of paperwork (you all know what I'm talking about). I will gladly exchange the signature(s?) needed for all the monies he owes me... But, that's unlikely to happen because the wife would NEVER allow it.
Now, let's see if I get paid the measly $32.50 on time (it's due to me January 21st) AND if the check is made out correctly... The rest of what he owes me? I'm not holding my breath.