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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 04-03-2015, 02:35 AM
JCL JCL is offline
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Default Ex Refusing To Pay Post-Secondary Tuition Costs

First-time poster. Recently signed divorce papers and I thought things were finally over. Ink was barely dry on the documents, when ex-husband decides to no longer pay our son's US college tuition costs (Minutes of Settlement state that we are both to pay proportionate amounts, yet he, our son and I agreed to split the tuition into thirds for payment). Here are the details:
- Son first stated goal of attending US NCAA Division 1 college as an athlete in 6th grade. Attend specialized sports program in nearest large city to us (about a 45 minute drive, one way) from 7th to 11th grade. Coaches told us to move him to advance in his chosen sport and to be closer to college recruiters.
- As a family, decided to send him to a prep/boarding school in another province for Grade 12 year. Ended up having a solid year, academically and athletically, but sustained a couple of injuries that kept him sidelined which negatively impacted his recruitment options. Since US colleges tend to like freshmen to be older (our Canadian birthday cutoffs for school are earlier than in the US), it was recommended that he do a "Post Graduate" year to get bigger, stronger, and to be seen by more college recruiters.
- Ended up getting recruited to a US college, is on an academic and athletic scholarship, and is in the starting lineup. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to explain that this wasn't a "split second decision" to send him to this US college.
- Now in his Sophomore year, after 3 full semesters of college, my ex decided that our children "need to be treated fairly" so he will only pay the equivalent of what our daughter's university tuition costs (she lives with me, attends the local university and plans to apply for medical school) which is significantly less than the US tuition cost. This decision coincided exactly with him being audited by the CRA for a few thousand dollars. He ended up using the money he saved for the tuition to pay his CRA bill. I've paid the tuition for the 4th semester on my own so our son can stay at school. His coach has offered him a bit more money, but the costs are still too much for me alone.
- my lawyer sent my ex an email explaining his legal obligations and have given him 20 days to respond, and also sent the court application that will be filed to show him that I was serious. No response...any advice?
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  #2  
Old 04-03-2015, 09:16 AM
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Do you use FRO?
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:33 PM
JCL JCL is offline
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I'm in Alberta, so it's MEP here. No, I haven't yet since I haven't had any issues with CS payments. Next step is Court Order I guess, and then registration with MEP? Thanks for the reply.
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:44 PM
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When is the '20 day deadline'?
Has your lawyer booked a time in court? (he can do that while waiting for the other side to respond).

Come the end of June the courts thin out and there is a reduction of amount of judges available to hear cases (in Edmonton). Hopefully you have a court date set because you don't have much time.

You can likely register with MEP now and when you get a new Order MEP will update your file. It can take 6 - 8 weeks for registration with MEP so I'd get that done right away. Go to the MEP website and you will get all the information you need (how to register, etc.):

https://justice.alberta.ca/programs_...s/default.aspx
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:58 PM
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Thanks Arabian for the reply. I don't think she's booked a date, so I will contact her after the long weekend. I'll start with the MEP registration this weekend. Ugh...thanks.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:08 PM
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Yeah it's kind of pointless to send a letter threatening legal action IMO. A letter with a court date set up is much more effective. Make sure all the correspondence your lawyer sends out is emailed to you for your approval beforehand.

Registration with MEP isn't a big deal from what I recall. You have to give them the usual banking information and relevant agreements. Then they will mail you a PIN number. After that you can simply log on and email or chat to MEP when you have questions. It takes a bit of time for things to happen. Your ex will be notified that he has to pay through them. They have an annual child recalculation thing which may or may not be of relevance to you.

If you do end up calling MEP keep in mind that maintenance enforcement agencies are generally one big call centre. If you aren't satisfied with what one person tells you, hang up and call back (you will get someone else). There is no "file ownership" at MEP Alberta so you do not have an assigned worker to speak to.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:18 PM
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Okay I will definitely persevere with MEP. So, just to clarify, the court date would be to get the court order? Then I provide MEP with the court order when I get it. I'm a bit concerned that the judge will say that the tuition is too expensive for him to pay, especially with the poor CAD right now. My feeling is that I owe it to our son to try to get the $ from his dad to let him stay at school. Not sure if the courts care that there was a plan in place (I even have emails where he has told me what he's willing to pay) and he has reneged on his commitment to our son or if they just look at his salary and the amount he's already paying for CS and determine that he doesn't have enough to live on? If he wouldn't have spent the money saved on the CRA audit, he would have enough saved.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:26 PM
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Yes get MEP set up.

Your son is in university and doing well. Your son pays a portion through scholarships/bursaries?

Have you and your ex exchanged financials each and every year since you separated?

I believe in the order of things CRA gets their money first anyhow (before child support arrears).

Judge will likely defer matter to MEP. MEP then makes an arrangement with your ex to make-up the arrears (which he currently would have if he unilaterally decided to stop paying child support).

Much depends upon your current written agreement. Fact that your ex has been paying the appropriate amount all along would be taken into consideration.

Had you been registered with MEP before, your ex could have made an arrangement with MEP to accommodate his tax audit debt.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:34 PM
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Yes, he's on the honor roll and pays 1/3 of his tuition through student loans. In my opinion, our son has fulfilled all of his obligations.

We haven't exchanged full financials; we are both teachers so we exchange our Line 150 amounts. I can access his CRA information and know exactly what his income is.

The Minutes of Settlement just state that we are responsible for our proportionate share of post-secondary tuition, but doesn't specify where the schooling will occur. Ex is arguing that he's decided that our son should now go to university locally, to make it more affordable. The principle is that going to a US college and playing an NCAA sport was a plan that was years in the making, and he had already attended for 3 semesters before the ex decided that he was no longer going to pay. Letter that my lawyer sent him pointed out that our MOS state that he and I are both responsible for the tuition, yet we are splitting it 3 ways, and that the courts could rule that he follow the MOS and actually owe approximately 50% of the tuition, rather than 33%. There has been no material change in circumstance on the part of my ex; he has the same job, and actually earned more in 2014 than ever before.

I will start with MEP and follow up with my lawyer regarding the court order I guess.

Thanks for all of your insight.
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Old 04-05-2015, 12:28 PM
serendipitous serendipitous is offline
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Nobody has yet seen it from the other party's point of view. Why can't the child do university locally? I mean there are schools in Canada cheaper than the US, that will have his chosen course and athletic program.

The ex' lawyer will argue this, and I bet any Judge will agree. It's not like the child was born in the US, or from what we've heard that outstanding that a draft is inevitable.

You are trying to force someone who is Canadian to pay US school fees. Perhaps present them with a Canadian school fee options and see what they say then?
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