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Is requesting payment for children's college tuition binding?

Started by snowrose, Dec 27, 2009, 07:47:42 PM

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snowrose

In another group of mine, we're talking about divorce decrees and inclusions that require a parent to pay college tuition for a "child".  In that discussion one of my boardmates said:

Quote
I'm not sure about every state, but according to my lawyer, a divorce decree providing for college tuition is unenforceable because parents just aren't required to provide funds for college. We have to pay for food, clothing and shelter until 18... married or not.
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What say the board members here?  Is college tuition enforcable in your experience, within your knowledge?

ocean

In NY child support does not end until 21 (or 22 if still in college) so child support continues while the "child" is in college. Also, many orders here state the parents will share the cost of a state school.

Kitty C.

If you're looking for opinions, here's mine:

Court ordered college tuition is, IMO, totally unconstitutional and discriminatory.  You can't force unmarried or divorced parents to pay for post-secondary education without forcing married parents to do the same.

As for support, that is a different matter.  I do not agree with states that require support payments beyond 18, basically for the same reason.  Eighteen is the age of majority and one is considered an adult and required to support themselves, so why require child support when they are not considered 'minors' anymore?  Here in IA, the only mention of it is that a child must maintain a certain grade point average in order to continue support and the support goes directly to the child, not the custodial parent, regardless of where the child lives (dorm, apt., or parent's home).

In DH's case, he brought up in court the fact that BM had a rich uncle who started trust funds for his nieces and nephews' college educations, so it is written in their order that those funds must be used first before either parent would have to contribute.  But the wording is so vague that the only definitive wording is the trust fund to be used.....it will be very tough for the BM to get the rest of it enforced.  SS has 2 1/2 years left, so I guess we will see then, but I think DH will stand on the side of unconstitutional.  We've grilled it into both DS's and SS's heads that they will have to come up with their own college funding (which DS is paying for right now) with loans, grants, scholarships, or whatever they can come up with.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

snowrose

Quote from: ocean on Dec 27, 2009, 07:51:34 PM
In NY child support does not end until 21 (or 22 if still in college) so child support continues while the "child" is in college. Also, many orders here state the parents will share the cost of a state school.

Yep.  I understand that there are often orders to that effect.  But are they binding?  If you refused to pay, could the other parent take you to court and force you to pay?

Kitty C, that's very interesting.  I notice that you say it'll be hard to get the order enforced - due specifically to the poor language.  I wonder what would happen if payment was refused and the language air-tight?

My personal feeling is that it may matter as to whether or not there is an actual contract between the parents.  I think a contract would be more enforcable than a custody order.  But then again I'm not a lawyer so I'm really just guessing.

BTW, when we got CS the judge made it until SD's 20th b-day.  I have no idea why he did that as the age of majority here is also 18.  Could be though because in Canada you can go to a total of 13 years of school (they have an optional grade 13), so realistically a child could be in high school at least to age 19.

tmeonmysde

Here in California CS is paid until 18 and hs is finished or to 19 if the child has not graduated, 19 being the very latest a child can get CS. As for college, here in CA you would have to specify that you want CS to go till the child graduates, but that is only if the other party is willing to do so; it's not mandatory here. Parents whom live together are not mandated to support their children beyond 18, so why should you do the same if you were divorced...college is an option, not required! Pretty much ex's just want to soak up as much $ as they can...but thankfully, here in CA 18 is emancipation..THANK GOD!!! We are almost done with our nightmare in a few months...best wishes for those that have the long road ahead of them!