Wednesday, April 17, 2013

College expense obligations of a non-custodial parent

Q: I am the non-custodial father of a 21-year old who attends one of the most expensive college in the country. For the first two years, he was awarded an excellent financial aid package, which put my pro rata share of the expenses into the average SUNY expenses. In AUgust 2011, his grandmother passed away and left a very hefty inheritance to his mother (my ex.) Because of this, the college has significantly reduced his aid award. My ex expects me to pay my pro rata share of these significantly increased costs, which is more than 2 X the original cost two years ago. Is this equitable? It is not what I agreed to. To complicate the issue, she has since quit her job, which is going to significantly increase my pro rata share. Is this fair, and legal?

A: David's Answer: Here's the question: is the "agreement" a written settlement agreement which was incorporated into your divorce judgment? Furthermore, what are the provisions for modifying same? Does it prescribe an amount - or percentage - that you contribute towards college? These are among the factors which will bear on whether the order can be modified. -- David Bliven, Westchester Child Supprt lawyer (

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