QUESTION: Is it unreasonable for me to assume my kids would have their own clothes at their dad’s place?
He has been requesting that I send specific items with the kids for his weekends (stuff like swim shirts, church clothes, extra socks), and since he has been in a tight spot I have obliged. It’s come to the point where he has failed to return the borrowed items and I have to replace them, as he refuses to either compensate or return the items. Would it be wrong of me to tell him that I will no longer send the kids with anything?
No, it IS NOT unreasonable for you to assume that the kids would have their own clothes at Dad’s place.
Yes, it IS wrong to send the kids to him without clothes. The kids suffer, and they won’t understand that Dad’s to blame. Dad’s a bum, but the kids need clothes.
Dad should buy the kids some clothes for their use when they are at his house. Sunday clothes are a good example (that way they don’t get lost in transit back and forth). They aren’t that expensive (if you buy from a thrift shop, and the stuff at thrift shops is perfectly, perfectly good–no one can tell it’s from a thrift shop, if you shop carefully).
It only makes good sense for Dad to have some (not a lot, but enough) clothes on hand so that if the the clothes the kids packed aren’t wearable (stains, mud, rips, tears, loss, etc.), Dad has something for them to wear instead. Dad could easily buy a week’s worth of clothing for each child (not including shoes, and even then, he can get some flip flops or cheap sneakers in a pinch) for under $100 per child, and he can build up the “Dad’s place” wardrobe over time. Even starting out with just a single “outfit” for each child is a prudent emergency backup plan that Dad should follow.
Going forward, however, you can take reasonable, pragmatic steps to ensure he doesn’t hoard clothes in the future (these may seem kind of weird or inconvenient, but they aren’t; your attorney will thank you for doing this):
1) Take a photograph of each item of clothing you purchase, along with a photograph or copy of the receipt for the purchase;
2) Photograph everything you pack for the kids that you send over with them to Dad’s;
3) If the kids return with less than they left with, you can e-mail Dad the photographs of everything you packed, along with the photographs of everything you purchased, with proof of purchase, and tell him that you own these clothes, that Dad has them and has not returned them, and that if he does not return them, you will report them stolen and will seek to have him sanctioned by the divorce court.
Give the idea some thought.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277