New Jersey is among the minority of states requiring divorced parents to pay for college tuition on behalf of their children. While there are many criticisms of this particular lawContinue Reading Payment for Gap Year in Israel: How to Draft Marital Settlement Agreements to Ensure it is Paid
When parties get divorced and there are children in high school or younger, they often reserve on what their financial contributions towards the children’s post-secondary educational expenses will look like.
Continue Reading Appellate Division Reverses Court Imposed Cap on College Contributions
Here in New Jersey, divorced parents are generally obligated to contribute to the college education expenses for their un-emancipated children. In virtually every marital settlement agreement where there are un-emancipated…
Continue Reading Alienating Your Kids from Their Other Parent May Cost Your Kids Big When it Comes to Child Support and College.
A recent Appellate Division case reminds us of the potential pitfalls of negotiating contingent issues in property settlement agreements, specifically as it relates to contribution to future college costs of…
Continue Reading Negotiating Future College Contributions in Divorce: A Cautionary Tale
It is not unusual for parties to address their children’s college education in their Marital Settlement Agreements. If children are college age or close, parties may actually specifically determine the…
Continue Reading Are Agreements to Make Your Children Take Out Student Loans to Pay for College Enforceable?
More and more, when discussing the payment of college education expenses with clients for their children, I am being asked, “What about graduate school?” The guiding principal behind that question,…
Continue Reading Do Parents Have an Obligation to Pay for Grad School? One New Jersey Trial Court Says, “It depends” Under Current Law and the Newly Enacted Statute
We know that children are dependent on their parents for longer than ever before – sometimes well into their twenties. As I stated in an earlier blog post on this…
Continue Reading Child Support Denied for Perpetual College Student
So you are divorced and your child is going off to college. What is the best way to get the other parent to contribute, whether there is an agreement that says he should or the agreement says that the issue shall abide the event. Should you A) consult prior to college and keep the other parent in the loop and then make a motion if you cannot agree before the child goes off ot college; B) make a unilateral decision then file your motion; or C) wait until the child graduates and when the other parent makes a motion for emancipation, hit him with a cross motion asking him to pay his share of a six figure college bill? Obviously, A is the preferred method, B is a worse method and C is a method that may risk you not getting re-paid.
As we learned from the Supreme Court a few years ago in Gac v. Gac, a former husband was not required to contribute toward his child’s college education expenses, because neither his ex- wife nor his child requested financial assistance from him until after he sought to terminate child support and the child had graduated from college. The Coourt found that their failure to make such request at time that would have enabled the father to participate in child’s educational decision as well as to plan for his own financial future weighed heavily against ordering him to contribute to the child’s educational expenses after her education was completed.
As the philosopher George Satayana said, those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That is what happened in the unreported (non-precedential) case of Fletcher v. Euston decided on June 11, 2013. The facts of this case are similar to Gac and the worst case noted above. However, the parties’ divorce agreement did provide that the parties would share the cost of college based upon their financial ability at the time. In response to the Husband’s motion for emancipation, the ctrial court ordered him to reimburse the former wife over $111,000. The Husband appealed.
Continue Reading If You Want the Other Parent to Pay for College, Don't Wait Until Graduation to Seek Contribution
The number of college graduates living with their parents has almost doubled since 2007. Currently, over 45% of 26-year-olds live at home with their parents. The figures highlight the difficulty…
Continue Reading Just Because An Adult Child Lives at Home, Does Not Mean Child Support Continues
For a non-custodial parent, the rejection of a child is one of the most stressful and hurtful situations regardless of whether the deterioration in the relationship is the child’s fault, the custodial parent’s fault, the non-custodial parent’s fault or a combination of all three. Unfortunately, the bitterness often escalates when the child and custodial parent seek financial contribution for the child’s college education. Many non-custodial parents in these types of situation question whether or not they are legally obligated to contribute towards the college expenses of a child who refuses a relationship with them.
In Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982), the New Jersey Supreme Court established twelve factors that a court shall examine in evaluating a claim for a contribution by a parent towards the costs of their child’s higher education. While all twelve factors must be weighed by the Court, a common issue raised by the non-custodial parent relates to factor eleven:
11. The child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals, as well as responsiveness to the parental advice and guidance.
Many litigants assume that if there is a deterioration in the relationship between a non-custodial parent and a college-bound child, the non-custodial parent’s obligation to contribute towards college is terminated. However, in Gac v. Gac, 351 N.J. Super. 54 (App. Div. 2002), the Appellate Division held that while there are circumstances in which a child’s rejection of their parent would warrant a dismissal of any obligation on their part to contribute to the child’s college costs, a child’s rejection of a parent’s attempt to establish a relationship does not immediately eradicate that parent’s obligation to contribute to college costs. For purposes of determining college contribution, the analysis is not simply whether there has been a breakdown in communication but whether a non-custodial parent can be required to contribute to his or her children’s college costs when communication between parent and child has been severed and, as a result, the parent has not been part of the college selection process or the child’s college progress.Continue Reading College Financial Support When the Child Won't Speak to the Parent