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  • Paying for Post secondary education

    Here is some background...
    My husband is paying support for his 2 children (17 and 12)
    We have a child together, and his ex has another child with her new husband.
    The agreement between them has been mutually agreed, and not enforced by the courts.
    He is paying less then what is on the "tables" based on his salary, and has the kids basically every other weekend, and whenever he or they want.

    She is asking for a document to be put in writing regarding paying for post secondary education. And we have some questions.

    1. Are there forms available that we could use as a guideline without having to go to a lawyer.
    2. Can we request that she apply for OSAP?
    3. Can we request that she (their daughter) get a job to help pay for expenses. (EX has not been encouraging her to get a job!!)
    4. Can he then say that will will split the difference?
    5. What are we required to pay? Tuition and books only? Do we have to pay for accommodation as well if he is paying support monthly?

    Thanks so much!

  • #2
    I would be interested to hear about this as well, as I am about to hit this issue and my ex feels that I should be paying in full (all costs as sect 7 expenses in accordance with our breakdown), which I find unreasonable and cannot do without further reducing my already considerably reduced income and further reducing my already substandard quality of life.

    I know there is case law out there but I would expect that all finacial avenues would be exhausted prior to having to pay. I am not adverse to paying some but as I put myself through university working a full time job and full time school as well as student loans, the expectation that children from divorce whould get a free ride is well unreasonable in my opinion. The sense of entitlement rankles me.


    • #3
      Yes forms are available at any of the superior court offices, and yes you can request she apply for OSAP. In fact this is the norm. No you can't request that she gets a job, however it would be in her best interest to, living expenses are not cheap. Im my own opinion you would be better off going strictly by the CS guidelines. By using the CS guidelines you are staying on the right side of any future claims the Ex may think of making. I currently have 2 children at Uni and the Ex has made several extraordinary expense claims which have been denied by the court because I am contributing at exactly the right rate. The CS guidelines take into account living expenses and tuition, books. The latter is what OSAP is used for.


      • #4
        Where does it have a breakdown in the CSGs about the "right rate" and can you provide a link here? This is an important topic for alot of folks I suspect and my concern is that I will have to pay 80% of special expenses (tution, books, etc). Thats a pretty penny that I don't have....actualy I have some lint in my pocket thats about all....

        Any assitannce you can provide secondwife and I would be approeciated


        • #5
          You can go to the department of justice Canada website and look up the CSG's for you situation, one child or two. Take into account what you are currently paying and compare this with the CSG's. Remember when doing this that this fulfills your obligation to this child. Advise your Ex that they are also responsible for 50% of expenses for Uni. You are not the sole payor for this, also advise that OSAP is meant to be used for tuition and books and also living accomodation. I have one child who is finishing Uni next year but wants to go for another 4 years. Any case law I have read tells me that my obligation is complete. However the Ex doesn't agree, so make sure you cover all of this when filing. Papers are available for free at the court and they will tell you what you need and file them in the proper ordere when you return them. I have been doin this for 5 yearsd and have not spent a single penny on a lawyer.


          • #6
            Presuming that you do want to help your child get an education and that you are willing to help out, the maximum a court usually orders is 50% of all costs including on and off campus residence. It is not always a given that the child is expected to contribute especially if the non custodial parent has the means to provide.. OSAP is only awarded to children if the parents haven't the means to pay themselves so don't hold your breath on that one. Do you really want your child to have debt when they graduate if you can afford to help them? The fair compromise is that you pay one third, the child pays a third and your ex spouse the other third. Right now it is very difficult if not impossible for kids to find jobs in this economy so don't be too tough on the student whose main job is to get an education so they are self supporting. Second wives should really not get too involved in these matters. It just infuriates the first wives, upsets the kids, and results in big legal fees that could be going to the childs education. First families can usually detect the hand of the second wife in these conflicts so best to be as fair as possible.


            • #7
              Originally posted by catchison View Post
              OSAP is only awarded to children if the parents haven't the means to pay themselves so don't hold your breath on that one.
              Catchison is correct. OSAP is designed to help out low income students/families who have no other means to attend a post secondary educational program.

              If the child has access to any RESP, savings, parents with $$$$, then he/she wouldn't qualify for OSAP.

              I would suggest a student loan/line fo credit from a financial institution such as a Bank.

              Originally posted by catchison View Post
              Right now it is very difficult if not impossible for kids to find jobs in this economy so don't be too tough on the student whose main job is to get an education so they are self supporting.
              Again, I agree. If the child is a serious student, then being forced to work while attending school can be stressful and their studies can suffer. However, many, many, many people have to work while at school, and they manage to do just fine.

              Having your parents pay for some/all of your post secondary education is a LUXURY that most kids just don't get...

              If a "nuclear family" is able to afford to help, then that's great, if they can't, then they can't.

              Yet after a divorce, the Government dictates that the parents MUST provide financial assistance to their adult children. Doesn't seem fair to me.

              Originally posted by catchison View Post
              Second wives should really not get too involved in these matters. It just infuriates the first wives, upsets the kids, and results in big legal fees that could be going to the childs education. First families can usually detect the hand of the second wife in these conflicts so best to be as fair as possible.
              I agree and disagree with this statement.

              Yes, having your ex's new spouse interfere in your life can be frustrating and annoying.

              But what affects the second wives husband, affects the second wife. And it is understandable that she would want to protect and help her man.

              Sometimes it's best if the first wife can get over her jealousy and try to see things from the other side as well.


              • #8
                Don't presume I don't love or want to help my kids....without knowing my situation or the context of my relationship with them...thats a bold presumption to make

                I never said that I would not pay a portion. The problem is the expectation that children from broken marriages are "entitled" to a free ride. I put myself through college and then university without support from my parents and incurred some student loans. Its a fact of life. Osap only takes into account the custodial parent's income and the provision of Canada student loans is available and its not only for low income families...its for the middle class of which I am part of....and I don't have bags of money hiding in the closet....

                1000s of people work and go to school.....and get good degrees as a result such as myself.....its called life.

                I agree with representing self

                Sometimes it's best if the first wife can get over her jealousy and try to see things from the other side as well...but in my case that won't happen....I "ruined" my ex-spouse's life and he/she has never taken responsibility that it takes two to make a marriage and two to break a marriage as the old addage goes....I will need to keep paying and paying and paying...both figuratively and matter what I do, I will be painted as the bad guy here and I live with that every day.....I have moved on with life and I am to be demonized for that....what a crock

                there are no free rides in life...and from the context or the framing of your response catchison, I suspect I won't get little sympathy from you for this response but I can accept that....and thats life again...


                • #9
                  It would be easy to assume that there is jealousy on the side of the first wife, and in your case perhaps some justifiable bitterness as well, however many first wives just want to move on too, and their main concern is the welfare of the children. It is for the betterment of our society that Canadian children are supported as much as is reasonable by both parents to have access to education that makes our country as a whole more competitive on the world stage. If you both made some mistakes, that is real life, yes take ownership for it, but had you stayed together I would hope you would have ensured that your kids had the best you could give them. One day you will be glad you helped to give them a hand up in the world and maybe your ex and they will look more kindly upon you as a result and have nice things to say about you at your funeral. Our govenment is not only acting to protect the rights of children to enjoy the fruits of their parents monetary success but also to keep Canadians as educated as possible for the collective good of the country. I applaud their efforts to do so, and have little sympathy for parents who use their own education experiences to dodge financial responsibility for their own children. Its a different world out there now, and I think everyone agrees that a higher education is more important now than it was 30 years ago and indeed almost expected. Look on the bright side- your children will grow up, your support will end, and maybe they will help you out when you need it in your old age if you help them now. This IS about your kids, not your ex.


                  • #10
                    Catchison, I think the problem for most NCPs and college/univeristy is that they are forced to pay. Most NCPs understand the importance of a higher education and would like to help. But being told when/how much/how long takes their choices away and instead of their contribution being appreciated as the gift it is, it is instead looked at as expected and they are looked at askance if they dare to question programs, grades etc.


                    • #11
                      Example Case for Post Secondary Expense

                      Sencond Wife,

                      I strongly recommend making an offer to contribute to post secondary expenses ASAP - you not want this going to court - you will get nailed!!!

                      There are guidlelines for determining the split for extraordinary expenses, but they are only used when the parties can not agree. I forget where they are exactly (in the law rules document). Generally the split is 50/50 between child and parents, then split proportional based on income between parents. Divorced parents have to pay - whether it makes sense or not.

                      The child is expected to contribute something toward post secondary education. However, there are situtations,like high income earning parent(s), where child contribution is reduced .

                      Extraordinary expense covers everything, so expect to pay for tution, books, lodging, travel,...

                      Ask for OSAP application IF you figure she is entitled to receive something based on both parents income. OSAP has calculator for this. Courts view as been that OSAP is not there to supplant family contribution - it assumes support would be provided if the family never divorced.

                      Here is what happened to us:
                      Background: I'm the payor remarried with two kids
                      Plus one child with EX
                      At the time of filing I lost my job!

                      EX, EX's spouse and child concoct plan to get full OSAP $11,400 while EX receives CS. Child moves out of EX's house to file OSAP papers as independent adult. Child does not work. NCP (me) kept in the dark. Plan blows up when OSAP rejects application becuase EX does not file taxes. New plan sue NCP for 100% post-secondary expenses. NCP counters with offer to pay 50% of post-secondary. Offer rejected. Over 18 months of legal wrangling including appeal by EX. Meanwhile...child goes to 1st school taking less than full course load. Child bombs major and is dismissed. No problem, go to another school using earlier acceptance for new program (against admission rules) - no discussion with NCP. Court order, held up in appeal, that child pay 50% and each parent 25%. Less than originally offerred. EX realizes that they have to pay...suddenly NCP receives notice from FRO that support payment is no longer going to be collected based on EX's request...and no Mr. NCP you can not see a copy of the request to stop support. Net result: Child goes to two schools and does not get an education and does not receive a dime from EX even though NCP pays FRO. Parents pay more is legal fees than cost of a degree. ...and then...child waits for a year...and gets full OSAP as an independent adult cause edumacatsun is important!

                      Long story, but I hope you get the point; If EX or child is a wacko you can go through hell getting this sorted out. Make a reasonable offer to support her education, do not be cheap, and get in writing fast! Talk directly to daughter.


                      • #12
                        I understand where you are coming from, KK, but unfortunately if there are not some hard and fast rules, you would find a lot of NCP would choose not to help if they had the choice, and although I hate to say this there are a few evil stepmothers out there who are part of this problem. There was a recent article in the papers about the fact that stepmoms unfortunately view the first family as competition for the resources of the man they are now with, and they are frequently behind some of the adversarial situations that go on regarding support for first families. Its too bad they didn't measure the consequences of marrying men with obligations but it seems they believe they have the right to put the poor guy in the middle making demands to put 2nd families priorities over those of the children in the first. My sis is a stepmom and I know she is the exact opposite of this, however I know many others who are not. It is horrible for the children when the father makes efforts to dismiss his responsibilities, they see their own mother suffer financially trying to do what is right for thier future, spending much needed resources in court fighting the NCP for every cent. I believe the NCP has the responsibility to make sure he is well involved with his children, so he or she knows about grades etc, and has done all he or she can to ensure that the kids will do well. Too often it is the CP who has had the entire burden of homework, helping with selecting the schools and every other duty of two parents. The NCP only has something to say when they are forced to pay for whatever choices are made. Choices they could have been involved in but frequently aren't. It takes effort to be involved with children in separated families. This is why everyone out there now who have intact families should think very carefully about the wisdom of letting their marriage fall into disrepair. The suffering that goes on for years afterward, in particular for the children, the financial implications for the single mother are horrendous and the legacy this leaves for our future generations is dismal.
                        Perhaps our governments should insist on a marital repair process when people approach lawyers for divorce info. No divorce allowed otherwise.
                        Studies have shown many NCP, 10 yrs after a divorce that they implemented would not have gone through with it if they knew how everything was going to work out, for them, their children and their extended families. The existence of this forum certainly just touches on the grief marital breakdown causes. And the lawyers have a hayday lining their pockets trying to get us all to disagree with one another.Wouldn't it be refreshing if the NCP would just try to work with the CP for the best outcome for the children? I still say the NCP should pay their share according to his or her financial means, and stop the whining. this will ensure the kids don't end up on the street, or back on his or her doorstep looking for more money because they can't support themselves.
                        Extended education is a must these days unless you want your child to be at a disadvantage. This problem is frequently more about how can I keep money out of my exwifes pocket than worrying about the welfare of the kids, and those who made our current support laws know this.


                        • #13
                          I come from a divorced home with a father who never paid a dime of support. When I applied for OSAP I had been living on my own for a whole year, working to support myself. My sister (who applied at the same time) was also on her own, but recieving student welfare to support her last year of high school. I STILL had to report my father's income on my OSAP application and the loan was based on that, NOT my income! What a crock!

                          Anyway, my point is that I had to support myself. In 4 years I accumulated $37000 of debt, which I have been paying back as quickly as I can. Nobody gave me a dime, but I did it anyway. I don't blame my parents for not contributing (though they could have, at least a little) because I earned my degree myself.

                          Parents don't owe their kids this kind of money (IMO). If they choose to support you, and can afford to, GREAT, but support comes in many forms, not just money. Ultimately money given for university and college should be a gift and not required by law or a court. you can't get blood from a stone, right?


                          • #14
                            Fact is, the laws about financially supporting 'adult children' need to be changed.

                            Ok, so a college/university degree is a necessity nowadays... I agree.

                            And our generations' youth are so spoiled that some wouldn't even consider working part time during high school to pay for this educational necessity.

                            So the burden lies on the parents and the tax payers. (OSAP isn't free money).

                            In most cases, the NCP struggles for YEARS to pay their CS and Alimony and surivive.... let alone setting aside more cash for a RESP.

                            Now when thier children reach 18 years of age, and choose to continue their education.... the NCP's have to pay THOUSANDS of $$$$$ for at least 50% of the tuition, fees, books, parking, residence, meal plans..etc, etc, etc.

                            And if the 'adult child' is living away from the CP's home, the Judges in this country continue to demand CS payments because the CP keeps a "room" available for weekends and holidays... that's a total CROCK!!

                            Couples who don't divorce aren't forced by the Government to pay for their childrens education...yet divorced parents are.

                            There is NO REASON why a CP needs to continue to receive CS payments after their child has gone off to college.. even if they have a "room" at home.

                            CS payments should cancelled, OR sent to the 'adult child' directly.


                            • #15
                              This might be off topic, but OSAP is a loan...meaning you are responsible for paying it back. I know that a few years back there were a lot of bankrupcies claimed to erase this debt, but now you cannot claim bankrupcy on an OSAP loan. OSAP money might come from the taxpayers, but it is a loan from them.

                              I do agree that divorced parents shouldn't be forced to pay for university and college. Myself, I am planning on giving my daughter as much as I can, regardless of whatever the courts "order" me to pay. The key to avoiding such a large sum is of course to start saving when they are small, then the money will be there (or a a lot of it) when the time comes.


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