Watching the bills mount on my end, I become frustrated. Somehow I’m always the one who ends up paying everything. I sulk and whine to myself, It’s Not Fair.
But then I remember, The Child has another parent: The Foreigner. He’s not much of a parent – what with not having seen her since she was three and all – so mostly he serves as Exhibit A on the list of evidence that proves I should not be allowed to marry. The fact is, though, it is possible to collect money from him, even in the Netherlands, and he’s legally on the hook for just under half of any medical bill for the child over $50.
I would say a nearly $4,000 medical bill falls into that category.
This came up once before, and as I recall, before the state will start collection proceedings on my behalf, they require that I make “a good faith effort” to obtain the payment myself. So, I scan a copy of the bill and send it to him in an email.
As per the terms of support payment:
I have a medical bill for your daughter for neuropsychological services, in the amount of $3650.00. Your share of this bill is 44% or US$1606. Prompt payment is appreciated as I have already paid the bill in full.I note also that your account balance is some $2900 in arrears for regular support; kindly bring this up-to-date. The bill copy is attached.
He wastes no time replying:
You think I am some sort of pot of gold on the horizon. Instead of
informing me of the cost afterwards. Why do you not inform me beforehand what you want to do. I would like to have a say in things like this where you spend lots of money.
She can receive FREE medical care over here until she is 18 years old. I think US$3650 would cover the cost of an airline ticket, now wouldn’t it.
This is half my montly paycheck. I cannot pay you this just like that out of my pocket !
I will inform you what I can do, after I get more information from you.
I reply and remind him of a few key points; to begin with, that I have sole custody of her, which was something he willingly agreed to in our divorce mediation, such was his haste to leave the country. I try to soften it a bit – a large unexpected bill is a shock for anyone, myself included. I tell him I wasn’t thrilled about it myself, it was a most unfortunate circumstance – yet there is a bill that must be paid.
He replies, reluctantly conceded that sole custody “may” mean I don’t need to consult him, and then informing me that he pays 360 euros a month for his family’s health care. I thought he had just said it was free but, as usual, I must have misunderstood.
I’m stupid that way.
Again, you ignored my comment about free 100% health care coverage in the Netherlands.
360 euros a month for 100% free care? Only in the Netherlands, or only in his mind? I give up. I don’t really care, I’m just trying to make the “good faith effort” the state says I must make.
The state doesn’t say I have to argue with him, but I’m so utterly frustrated with everything, a good fight by email is starting to feel cathartic.