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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 04-04-2018, 10:22 PM
RyleighK RyleighK is offline
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Default private school & tuition

My ex had sole temporary custody of our child prior to child starting school.

Ex enrolled him in a private school (in Ontario) as ex was/is a teacher at the school. Previously tuition was a taxable benefit. When child began school, the tuition was apparently $0.

The first two years of schooling were free due to a change in the tax laws (schooling fees is no longer a taxable benefit). However, the cost to attend school is now several thousands of dollars per year, paid by my ex.

It is written in the parenting plan that ex is to pay for 100% of the tuition. He now has several more children and we are now arbitrating with regards to my having to pay for half of this private school tuition.

I was wondering, what is the likely out come? Will I have to contribute to private school tuition, even though I had no say in the schooling and it was written in the parenting plan several years ago that ex would cover tuition costs? He is claiming a material change of circumstance (additional children, day care fees, etc). I am not claiming a material change of circumstance, even though I am now raising a second child on my own as a single parent.

Please advise. Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2018, 12:51 PM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
The first two years of schooling...
How long has the child been attending the school? Two years? 5? That detail does matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
It is written in the parenting plan that ex is to pay for 100% of the tuition. ...we are now arbitrating with regards to my having to pay for half of this private school tuition.
Hard to say what the result may be. It depends on how the arbitration contract is written, what law they are expected to rely upon. In general, if the child has attended the school for a number of years (4+) then their attendance will be possibly considered the status quo.

Then, the argument flows to if the agreement should be followed or Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines. In my opinion a federal law would trump anything that two private citizens agree upon and should be applied. That would mean that the cost of the private school should be split on the balance of incomes.

He makes 100,000 and you make 30,000. He pays 70% of the expense and you pay 30% of the expense.

I don't think he needs to even claim a material change in circumstance. The law generally supersedes an agreement. Furthermore, section expenses are a right of the child and parents can't negotiate away S7 and child support obligations.

An arbitrator may have pitty on you but, ultimately, they to be able to defend their order. If following the law (FCSG) is the default then they don't have any other option.

To correct some of your incorrect assuptions though:

I was wondering, what is the likely out come? Will I have to contribute to private school tuition, even though I had no say in the schooling and it was written in the parenting plan several years ago that ex would cover tuition costs? He is claiming a material change of circumstance (additional children, day care fees, etc). I am not claiming a material change of circumstance, even though I am now raising a second child on my own as a single parent.

1. You did have a say in the schooling. You could have brought an application before the court for the child to be enrolled in public school and your success rate on that would have been very high. You chose not to exercise your options and acquiesced to the other parent.

2. Parenting plans are generally created jointly and agreed upon through mutual consent. If you didn't agree with it... You should have brought the matter before the court. You, in turn, consented to it.

3. It is unfortunate that you either lost (or gave up) your custodial rights as a decision maker for the child in question. But, that is going to be your biggest issue with all this. You were complacent with the private school enrollment... for years... Now that you have to contribute to the cost it is an issue???

Good Luck!
Tayken
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2018, 03:58 PM
RyleighK RyleighK is offline
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The child has been in school for five years.

Year 1, $0
Year 2, $1000
Year 3, $2000
Year 4, $3000
Year 5, $3000

Ex is now requesting tuition payment (half). September's fee is $4000. The amount is increasing annually.

To respond to your questions:

1) My lawyer told me I would never win with regards to my child attending a public school. The judge would have ruled in favour of a private school. My child would not have been able to attend private school and is only there now as my ex is a teacher (and receives a discount). My child attended the private school's pre-school program for two years (following separation) - again, without my consent or knowledge. I was advised, the school is set in stone due to this.

2) The Parenting Plan was finalized after my child was in school. My ex delayed the court proceedings so that the child would be in this school and a suggestion of a school transfer was not in his "best interest".

3) I never wanted my child in this school continue not want him in this school now either. However "in the child's best interest" - I don't stand a chance to have the child removed from this school either.
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:41 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Well you’re not responsible for half the cost according to the guidelines.

Depending on who gets the tax benefit (its probably him) you would pay your proportionate share of the net (after tax) cost. You should also ask for full disclosure on the cost.

As for his new family, he can keep whining about his increased expenses all he wants, a judge looks down on parents who try to shirk their first kids in favour of other kids. Plus if he keeps barking up that tree you can simply suggest they put kid in public school and save you both the cost.
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
The child has been in school for five years.
Status quo has been established. You won't be able to change it until the child is of an age that they can no longer attend that school and move on to high school. Unless the school offers k-12 then you are really stuck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
Ex is now requesting tuition payment (half). September's fee is $4000. The amount is increasing annually.
Well, as the law is clear you won't have to cough up 1/2. Its based on the split of incomes. If he makes 85,000 and you make 34,500 then you would only be paying $1,154.81 (28.87%) and he has to pay 2845.18 (71.12%).

It isn't "half".

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
My lawyer told me I would never win with regards to my child attending a public school. The judge would have ruled in favour of a private school.
Today, yes that would be the case as your child has established a "status quo" of attending that school for the past 5 years. That would make your child 9 or 10 years old now... Respectively they have spent HALF of their life attending that school. That is significant. Near impossible to change.

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Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
My child attended the private school's pre-school program for two years (following separation) - again, without my consent or knowledge. I was advised, the school is set in stone due to this.
Did you not have any access to the child during those two years? I find it hard to believe that you didn't know the child was attending the pre-school. It is rare for a parent to have NO CONTACT or knowledge of what is going on with their child. Even parents who are restricted to supervised access can gain access to their information and records.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
2) The Parenting Plan was finalized after my child was in school. My ex delayed the court proceedings so that the child would be in this school and a suggestion of a school transfer was not in his "best interest".
Again, that is crap. Both parties can bring motions at any time and move the case forward. Furthermore, a party can only delay matters for so long. 2 years is a long time for delays. 6 months tops on adjournments but, nothing would be "status quo". Projecting the blame on the other parent isn't going to buy you much. You had equal opportunity to bring the matter to court.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
3) I never wanted my child in this school continue not want him in this school now either. However "in the child's best interest" - I don't stand a chance to have the child removed from this school either.
You sound like an absent parent who 8-9-10 years later wants to be involved. Unfortunately, too much time has passed to be deeply involved in custodial matters.

You have been relegated to a child support payment system with probably every-other-weekend access (if even that).

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 04-06-2018, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tayken View Post
Then, the argument flows to if the agreement should be followed or Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

I was just reading a case where the judge was saying that consent agreements should have greater weight, because often other considerations were taken into account.


eg. Father pays 100% of tuition and in return parents agreed to ignore a loan during equalization, or reduce duration or quantum of SS. Changing the tuition clause is unfair because agreements are holistic.


More to the point, I frequently see this "Dad pays 100% of tuition" clause referenced in judgements, with Dads saying "I can't afford this crap any more" and I'm not sure if I've ever seen that be recognized as a material change in circumstances.




Quote:
He makes 100,000 and you make 30,000. He pays 70% of the expense and you pay 30% of the expense.
You mean 23%


(I know you know that, it was just a mental typo, just pointing it out in case others are reading)



Quote:
I don't think he needs to even claim a material change in circumstance. The law generally supersedes an agreement.
The only "law" that supercedes agreements seems to be the CSG. S7 is fuzzy at best.
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Old 04-06-2018, 01:41 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Originally Posted by Janus View Post
I was just reading a case where the judge was saying that consent agreements should have greater weight, because often other considerations were taken into account.

I hope this is true especially in cases where there was an agreement but cp made unilateral decisions that impact the elements of the agreement and then come back asking for changes because the agreement didn’t take into account “opportunities” which were really their decisions to change the agreement without consent.
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Old 04-07-2018, 12:37 AM
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Rioe Rioe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyleighK View Post
My ex had sole temporary custody of our child prior to child starting school.

Ex enrolled him in a private school (in Ontario) as ex was/is a teacher at the school. Previously tuition was a taxable benefit. When child began school, the tuition was apparently $0.

The first two years of schooling were free due to a change in the tax laws (schooling fees is no longer a taxable benefit). However, the cost to attend school is now several thousands of dollars per year, paid by my ex.

It is written in the parenting plan that ex is to pay for 100% of the tuition. He now has several more children and we are now arbitrating with regards to my having to pay for half of this private school tuition.

I was wondering, what is the likely out come? Will I have to contribute to private school tuition, even though I had no say in the schooling and it was written in the parenting plan several years ago that ex would cover tuition costs? He is claiming a material change of circumstance (additional children, day care fees, etc). I am not claiming a material change of circumstance, even though I am now raising a second child on my own as a single parent.
So education was a decision that was solely up to your ex, as he had sole custody at the time. Not sure how that came about, but he had every authority to enroll the child in private school at that time.

He agreed that he would pay 100% of the tuition. Easy for him to say, because at the time, it was free as a benefit of him being a teacher there. Presumably, he foresaw this situation of free tuition lasting indefinitely when he agreed to the parenting plan.

Years later, that is no longer the case due to the tax law changes you mentioned. That is an unforeseen material change in circumstances, and so the agreement that he pay 100% can be revisited.

Does he still have sole custody? If so, education decisions are still up to him. Whether the child remains in private school is his call.

Or do you now have joint custody, and you have some input into the education decisions? You could argue that as private school is no longer affordable, it's time to enroll the child in public school.

Things like additional children are NOT unforeseen material changes in circumstances. People should base their decisions on whether to have additional children on their financial obligations to the current one(s).

But keep in mind three things, some which have already been noted by others, but bear repeating.

First, the best interests of the child are paramount. In this case, keeping the child in the familiar school, where one parent is conveniently located, where their friends are, and presumably their new half-siblings attend or will attend, is in the child's best interests.

Second, the tuition is a s7 expense, and those are usually shared proportional to income. So you won't have to pay half; it will be less if your income is less than his.

Last, try to look at this from the perspective of 'what would have happened had the family stayed intact?' Would you be making financial sacrifices so the child could remain in the private school, or would you be moving the child to public school despite their parent still teaching at the private school?
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