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 That is what happened in the unreported (non-precedential) case of Fletcher v. Euston decided on June 11, 2013.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