Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

Is it legal for me to deduct money owed to me from my ex-husband towards child expenses (1/2 of that we all agree on splitting until the ex got mad and decided to stop paying his portion on the balance leaving it to me to pay and $30 for a new birth certificate so my son can go to college because my ex refuses to give me the original copy he has) from money I owe him and his new wife? Basically I owe them $100 (they loaned to me when we were all friends), now my son lives with me (he is now 18 but this all just occurred a couple of months ago)this has caused a division between his father and I (he didn't want our son living with me). We had an agreement (I have emails where we discuss the balance, etc) stating we bought a sr. pic portrait package and agree to split the cost and the pics down the middle. Once my son moved in with me, i got an email stating they were not paying any more on the pictures and I was to give the amount of pictures equal to what they HAD paid already. Also, I have been asking my ex for my son's social security card and birth certificate (so my son can get a job and go to college) but he refuses so now I have to spend $30 to get a copy of my son's birth certificate. The amount they owe me totals slightly more than what I owe them (my ex actually owes me a lot more since he stopped helping pay medical co-pays, etc the moment my son moved in with me - and my son had some medical expenses). So can I legally send them a statement showing the amount they owe me vs the amount I owe them as a wash and be done with it? I know this sounds petty but this is the point it has gotten to over this.

Asked on 6/06/13, 11:01 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

I think you're justified in setting off those expenses against your debt. As a practical matter, there isn't much they can do--I can't see a court fight over such de minimus amounts. I assume he's not paying child support since your son was living with them and is now 18.

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Answered on 6/06/13, 11:15 am

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