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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 03-06-2014, 03:02 PM
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Default Child support after post-secondary.

I have a son (almost 20) who I have paid child support to his entire life. His mother has estranged him from me, and I never see him. We had verbal agreement until around 2008 until which time she decided to come after me for back support. We sought counsel individually, and I agreed to give her more money (since we weren't going by the guidelines, I was a few dollars short every month). I paid it in full and have paid the guidelines every year, even voluntarily increasing support payments on my own if my income increased.

2 years ago, he enrolled in post-secondary studies. It was my responsibility to continue child support payments while he did so.

He dropped out half way through the first year - no reason was given. She still expected payment, but under our agreement I was not obligated to do so since he was not in school. According to our agreement, support was to end since he was no longer a child as defined by the guidelines.

The following September, she emailed me to tell me he 'found himself and his passion' for another program. However, he needed to take a 'remedial' year to 'qualify' for this program. This past school year, I have agreed to pay for his support again. I did not argue.

I sought legal advice and they agree I should not have to continue once this year is over (he will have finished the qualifying year certificate).

I am looking for advice/experience of those in similar situations. Will I be expected to continue paying support if he qualifies for a DIFFERENT program that could be as long as 3 years?

I also found out through the school, that he did NOT need to take the qualifying year program - he was eligible for the new program.

My friends and family tell me she's treating me like a bank machine - many have said this through the years but I always had my son's interest at heart.

I have 3 children with my current wife of 15 years, and I have new obligations to them. They could really use the money for things, and I'm sure my other son is in a position at adulthood when he could be more responsible (though I'm not sure I'm a good judge of that).

Thoughts?

Thank you!
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:24 PM
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Default

My two cents:

Whether he needed that year to qualify or not is somewhat irrelevant. As you would have been paying for the child regardless of which course/program he took.

I worry you have set a precedence. If you didn't have to pay this year, but agreed to any how (all subjective btw) you set an expectation given you knew he was "prequalifying" for another program. And now he wants to do the program.

I can appreciate you could spend the money on your other children but I regret the law does not speak to your newer family unless you were in dire straights. This doesn't appear to be the case.

I suspect if this issue were raised in court you would have to pay on the above. However, I can tell you my ex husband was in a similar situation and a judge released him from CS and post secondary costs specifically because the "child is old enough to go to war, to sign contracts, and to establish a relationship with his father...the child does not and has not made any effort to have a relationship with his father and therefore the father has no further obligation to the child". Said child was 18 at the time and had been estranged from dad for several years.
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:38 PM
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Default

I know my ex specifically added a clause to our separation agreement (after she and her lawyer wrote the first draft) to ensure that if one of our kids took time off, then went back to school, that support would start again. That tells me she felt the need to because the law was vague.

Court would be a crap shoot and cost thousands of dollars. Weigh your options.
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