August is off-to-college month. For divorced parents, the joys and sorrows of a child leaving the nest are often compounded by the parents’ disagreement over their division of college expenses.
Last Spring’s decision of the Second Department in Yorke v. Yorke provides guidance. The parties are the parents of a child who entered college beginning in the Fall 2007 semester. By two 2007 orders, the father was directed to pay 83% of the college tuition for the subject child prior to March 2009, and 82% of the tuition thereafter.
Those orders provided that the father was not responsible for contributing towards the child’s room and board at college. This 2011 opinion did not discuss why room and board had been excluded, or the basis for the prospective (2009) change in the allocated percentages.
Instead, this 2010 Family Court, Orange County, proceeding involved only the calculation of the father’s share of tuition. At the heart of the dispute was the effect of the child’s financial aid package, both as it reduced the tuition expense, but also as it was required to be spread over the costs for room and board.