In his June 13th decision in E.J. v. M.J., Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Edmund M. Dane resolved the complex financial issues arising when a divorce action is commenced after a child begins attending a private university, but before the child turns 21 or graduates. The fact pattern presents a blend of Equitable Distribution and child support add-on issues.
Here, the parties were married in 1997 and had two children born in 2001: a son who by the time of the decision had turned 21 and had just graduated from Quinnipiac College and a daughter with developmental disabilities for whom the parties had agreed to adult dependent support.
The wife commenced this divorce action in May 2021. The parties entered a Settlement Agreement resolving most of their issues. However, issues of their son’s college education expenses and counsel fees remained to be decided upon written submissions.
The wife alleged that in the year prior to commencement of the action, the husband signed a series of Parent Plus loans for their son, totaling approximately $141,000. She argued that the Court should consider the husband’s financial ability to contribute to those expenses, as well as the academic backgrounds of the parties and the best interests of the child. The wife further contended that if she were to be obligated to contribute to the Parent Plus loans, her obligation should be capped at a SUNY rate. The wife maintained that there was no prior agreement between the parties regarding the payment of college expenses for their child.Continue Reading Apportioning a Child’s Pre- and Post-Divorce Action Commencement Private College Expenses