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Old 01-27-2016, 09:27 PM
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Default Post-secondary, 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 calculations

Rockscan has been kind enough to invest some significant time of her own, to draft a thread setting out post-secondary discussions and calculations, and current caselaw, based on her partner's lawyer advice, with 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 calculations.

I hope to keep a Reference thread on post-secondary, with which we can add legitimate discussion and update caselaw, and direct our new members on post-secondary.

[Thank you Rockscan, I know as drafter of material that this took some significant time and thought on your part, the forum will benefit!!]

Please note, *this is NOT legal advice*.

Post-Secondary Education

Post-secondary expenses are outlined as expenses required for the pursuit of post-secondary education.

The guiding principle is that the net cost of the expense is shared between the parties proportionate to income after deducting from the expense a reasonable contribution from the child. Net cost is calculated having reduced the full expense by scholarships or bursaries and tax deductions similar to other section 7 expenses.

Guiding case law on the reasonable contribution is: Lewi v. Lewi. This case finds that children are responsible for a share of the expense and should not have to use all their savings/income to pay for education costs, they should not be saddled with debt to pay for school, and they should bear a larger responsibility if they choose to attend school away from home when a similar program of study is available closer to home.

In the bulk of cases, judges err on the side that children are responsible for 1/3 of the expense with the remaining 2/3 shared equally by both parents or proportionate to income. There are exceptions to this in cases of incomes higher than $150,000, previously agreed to conditions, and the educational requirements of the child.

Proof of the expense
Proof of the expense must be provided via a statement of account or receipt.
All post-secondary institutions in Canada provide a statement of account to the student via an online portal. This statement is printable in pdf format. Proof of the expense is a full print out of this statement with nothing hidden or removed. The statement must show WHAT WAS PAID not what was charged. The statement will include provincial grants applied to the account, residence fees, and tuition fees.
Book receipts may be provided either via receipt from the bookstore or a print out of a used book advertisement/written receipt from the previous student.
Receipts for food purchases, vehicle gas, rent etc. are to be provided.

Eligible expenses are considered as follows: (* denotes conditional expense)
Equipment* (i.e. computer, printer, lab fees, scientific equipment, materials for specialty programs)
Residence/living expenses

Non-eligible expenses:
Application fees
Late fees
Damage fees
Interest for unpaid expenses
Appliances (fridges, hot plates, blenders)
Medical/personal care supplies

Non-eligible expenses are a gray area. Many of these items are required for the pursuit of post-secondary education but are also questionable.

Application fees are considered a child support expense as they are normally filed while the child is still living at home receiving full support. For students taking a “victory lap” year, the application expense doubles or triples in some provinces. The paying parent is not eligible as they are still paying full child support for a child age of majority and not in school.

Late fees, damages and interest on unpaid expenses are a question of responsibility placed on an adult child and the paying parent is not subject to these costs.

Furniture, bedding, housing supplies, medical care and personal care supplies are also considered non-eligible expenses as they can be disputed. Reasonable costs for these items may be considered an eligible expense. For instance, sheets or duvets for residence rooms are required but 800 thread count sheets and silk duvets are considered unreasonable. Fridges for diabetic supplies in a residence room are considered eligible but fridges for snacks and beer are not. For computer equipment, these expenses are only eligible if the equipment was purchased specifically for school.

If the child received a computer at least one year before attending school or it was a gift from another individual, this is not considered necessary and not eligible for split. Similar for a “reasonable” purchase, the recipient parent cannot go out and purchase a $3000 computer when a $1000 computer will suffice and is available.

Health costs—most post-secondary fees include a health fee that can be opted out of. These fees end up in the range of $150-300 depending on the institution. As most separation agreements dictate that children be placed on health insurance, if the child is eligible for health insurance via their parents, they should opt out of this additional fee. It is not considered an eligible expense for split.

Living at home: For a child pursuing post-secondary education living at home
Full table child support is payable while they are in school.
Tuition, books, equipment are all eligible expenses.
Transportation costs to get to school are eligible expenses. These include: car insurance, gas, maintenance on the vehicle, parking expenses. However, if the child is provided full public transit in tuition fees, it is expected that the child will use this option if it is available. For instance, an urban student close to public transit will be required to make use of the passes and not incur unnecessary transportation costs. A rural student not within public transit access must use their own transportation. Should there be a safety issue and the urban student requires a car to travel to and from school (i.e. night classes), this would be considered an eligible expense.

Transportation cost calculation: sum of gas for eligible months of school, parking fees for the year, average annual maintenance costs for the months the car was used, insurance cost for the months of school.

Away from home: For a child pursuing post-secondary education away from home
Full table support is payable the four months they are at home during the summer. If the child chooses to stay for summer courses, living expenses are paid for according to the S7 split.
Tuition, books, equipment are all eligible expenses.
Residence fees are eligible expenses. Additional costs for food or appliances in the residence room are not eligible. Should the parents agree on an increase in the food allowance or there is an allergy, this extra cost is eligible for split.
Living expenses for off campus residence are eligible expenses. These include: rent, internet fees, rental insurance, food, and personal care costs (i.e. soap, shampoo).

Transportation costs
to travel to and from school are eligible as per the student living at home. Transportation costs to travel from school to home are arguable as necessary to get to and from school at the beginning and end of the school year.
Reasonable costs to travel home may be considered. (Unreasonable travel costs include a monthly trip home or excess costs to travel home outside of regular breaks unless the child is spending shared time with both parents. For instance, the cost for a child to return home once a month to visit one parent only is not an eligible expense. A child that goes home once a month and spends equal time with both parents may be considered eligible.)

Bursaries, grants and scholarships
It is expected that the child will apply for all eligible grants, bursaries and scholarships. Several provinces in Canada offer discounts on tuition for students from lower income brackets or single parent families. Canada offers “loan forgiveness” or grants on their student loans.

Reduction of tuition is eligible for the full cost of the split. Grants awarded to the student via a student loan program are considered in their eligible portion. For instance, in Ontario, up to 30% off tuition is offered when the student applies to the Ontario Student Assistance Program. This portion (up to 30%) is subtracted from the total cost of tuition. Depending on the financial situation, a student may receive up to $10,000 in federal and provincial grants. This money is considered the child’s portion of the expense. Therefore, if the split works out that the child is responsible for $7000 of the total cost of post-secondary and their grants work out to be $5000. The $5000 grant is applied to their share of the cost with the remaining $2000 paid either by student loan or employment income.

**An important note for this is that case law has shown that judges do not agree that a student should incur a heavy debt load to attend post-secondary school. Nor should they be required to use their entire employment income for school. However, that does not mean that a child doesn’t have to work or earn income. Nor does it mean a child should not apply for student assistance. As most student assistance programs now consider children of divorce under one parent’s income, their eligibility for loan forgiveness, grants, subsidies and tuition reduction is increased and is used for their portion of the expense.ccc

Last edited by mcdreamy; 01-27-2016 at 09:36 PM.
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