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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 09-15-2009, 01:16 PM
JPMAC JPMAC is offline
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Default Child Support and Private School

My ex an I have been separated for nearly 10 years, divorced for 5. We settled everything pretty quickly and amicably regarding division of property, CS etc. We have a 14 year old son who has had behavioural problems since kindergarten and is now entering high school. Throughout his school career he's been a regular visitor to the principles office, received multiple suspensions from school, from the bus etc. This year my ex made the unilateral decision that he needs to go to a private military academy costing $40K per year. My income is about 80K. Her's is about 40K but that amount is arbitrary because she works for her new husbands business and they are actually quite well off. I've reluctantly agreed to try this school for a year and have taken $20k from my line of credit to pay for it. It will take me considerably more than a year to pay this off. We made a verbal agreement that so long as he is at this school I would not pay her child support as he is living at the school not with her. Now she's threatening to take me to court to obtain $300 per mo child support in addition to the school tuition and to force me to pay for additional years in this school with no consultation as to whether the school is helping him or not. I'm not opposed to continuing to pay some amount to her as she will need to buy shoes, clothes etc but given that the school is already beyond my means, I think she is asking a bit much. She also says that I can't argue that I'm not in agreement with him going to this school because my (new)wife knows someone who's child attended there and at one point several years ago supplied my ex with a link to their website should she want to look into it. I don't see that as my wife having made a financial commitment on my behalf. So...long story, two questions. 1. How should child support be handled given this extraordinary expense and the fact that the child is not living at home. 2. Can I be obliged to continue to pay for future years without being consulted as to whether he should continue.
  #2  
Old 09-15-2009, 01:47 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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as this is an extraordinary expense, and you did not jointly agree to enroll him, I don't think you should be automatically obligated to pay. I would continue to pay the child support, as you will have no leg to stand on in court if you stop payment. You may end up having to pay for the year, based on your agreement to try it.

Did you have a separation agreement? If so, how are extraordinary expenses divided?
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Old 09-15-2009, 02:14 PM
JPMAC JPMAC is offline
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The separation agreement is a one page document that was drafted by her lawyer and I signed. It does not address extraordinary expenses. It simply states that we have joint custody but that he lives with his mother, states the amount of child support and the days that I have access. I only agreed to try this because she agreed to waive CS while he was there. Otherwise I would not have agreed. The school alone if you divide it out monthly over a year comes to nearly half my take home pay. I'm now making payments on the loan and can't afford to continue the regular amount of CS on top of that. I still have a mortgage and other bills to pay.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:30 PM
dalia dalia is offline
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Default private school

I am going through this now. My daughter has a learning disorder and i felt a small private school was best for her early education. he was not involved in the decision and i'm asking him for 1/2 of the expenses.

Of course he is refusing (because he says he wasn't part of the decison), but here's my point:

I am not sending this child to a private school for my own good or to boost my social status (it's not one of those kinds of schools anyhow). I am sending her to this school because she has adhd and a learning disorder and a small school with small classes and discipline is the best for her (her grades are much better and she's happier now).

I will say this to you dad: think about what's best for your child. Perhaps the military school is good for this year, but what about getting him tested for adhd and any underlying learning disorders (you'd never guess my daughter has 2 learning disorders in math and reading because she's smart and has adapted her learning style) which often go with adhd - which is often present in kids that act out in school. Official testing is around 1000.00 and if a disorder or adhd is identified at least you can start doing your research now to help him.

If you can find out how your son learns, you will be able to find the best school setting for him and you might find a small private school that is cheaper and better for him than the military school with such crippling fees to the both of you (maybe cadets or reserve could offer same experience for free?); in the case of my daughter, she went through the private school for several years and is now in a public secondary school and is doing very well (as the public school offered better courses and resources for her).

Just a suggestion, but please don't take the same unproductive attitude towards your child like my ex did by saying that just because you didn't mutually agree you don't have to pay. Instead, try to find the underlying causes to his behavior and then really do your homework to find the best school for him. I'm sure your ex will be thrilled to see you take such a proactive step with regards to his education and well being.

In the end, as far as I have experience, unless she can prove to the court that this school is the 'best' thing for him you really don't have to pay for it unless you agreed to it.

all the best,

dalia
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:43 PM
Mess Mess is offline
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What would you have done if you were still happily married and this issue came up? Would you have reluctantly agreed to her idea of military school and taken out a loan? Of refused the idea? Basicly you should do the same thing now.

If you believe this will help you child, take out the loan, if it was something you would have been willing to do when you were together.

If you don't believe the school will help, or you would have otherwise felt it was too expensive to be a realistic solution, then the expense is beyond reasonable and you should refuse to pay.

You should continue paying CS in any case, you will be in big trouble if you don't, and even if she verbally agrees she can come back at you for arrears later on.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:12 AM
JPMAC JPMAC is offline
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From Dalia:"think about what's best for your child. Perhaps the military school is good for this year, but what about getting him tested for adhd and any underlying learning disorders"

Of course I want to do what's best for my son. That's why I took out a loan and paid for the school for this year. Where I have difficulty is with the notion that my ex is the sole authority on what's best. We've had him tested and he has no learning disorders. We've had him in counseling to no avail. He get's passing grades in school. We're told there is nothing "wrong" with him he simply has an attitude problem. He doesn't get along well with others, he doesn't like to follow rules, when he get's in trouble it's always someone else's fault. I do fear that today's trips to the principle's office will be tomorrow's trips to the police station. There are other community resources that have been suggested to us by the school and the counselors, but my ex will have no part of that. In her mind this is the only solution. Maybe she's right...I would just like the opportunity to be part of the decision.

From Mess:"What would you have done if you were still happily married and this issue came up?"

Good point and I've tried to think of this this way. I think we would ideally have discussed this, tried to look at the big picture - what's best for our son, what's within our means, what's the impact on the rest of the family i.e. our ablity to continue to live in our home or send the other kids to post secondary school...etc. If the decision was to try it for a year and see if it helps then I would hope at the end of the year we would again discuss the outcome and decide how to move forward. There are other discussions on this forum about parents being forced to pay for post secondary education. The same points apply here. In an "intact" family it's a family decision. In a divorce situation one person gets to impose their will on another.

Re CS: I'm not a deadbeat Dad. I've alway paid. I've alway picked my kids up when I'm supposed to plus extra time when the ex calls and says she can't handle our sons behaviour anymore. I do the bulk of the driving to extra curricular activities, dr and dds appts etc. My son lived with me for 2 years when my ex said she couldn't deal with him any more. For that period of time she paid CS to me. So....when he lives with her I pay her, when he lives with me she pays me, why is it that when he lives with neither of us, I still have to pay? Like I said I understand that there are still expenses and am willing to contribute but I think it should be relative to what those expenses are. I'm concerned that if this goes to court I'll be forced to pay more than I can afford and that will affect other people besides myself.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:49 AM
kamkatie kamkatie is offline
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This may not help you this year but its something to consider for the next. According to what you stated, you have joint custody. That means that any important decisions regarding you son must be made with your consent. If you don't think the school is going to work out or you can't afford it than don't consent for him to return next year.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:19 AM
Dawn is tired.... Dawn is tired.... is offline
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My daughter is the same Gifted/ADHD, I want to send her to a special school for $10K per year. I look at it this way - Tthe stats show that this child will likely NEVER go to Post Secondary School, so basically I am paying now what I would likely pay if she were go to university. Valid when the option is potentially dropping out of high school.
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