Child Support AND College Support - have to pay both - in Ma

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Latest post 02-21-2012 4:44 PM by Paddywakk. 6 replies.
  • 02-16-2012 5:24 PM

    • 11bet11
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-21-2006
    • MA
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    Child Support AND College Support - have to pay both - in Ma

    Hello,

    Just some questions I have about my daughter who will be attending college in a few years.  I live in Ma and she lives in NJ with her mom.  I am remarried with a child with my current wife and two stepchildren.

    1.  Our divorce agree has the agreement that we both we both would pay according to ability to pay college when the time comes.

    2. Our divorce agree once she attends college, child support terminates.

    3.  Our divorce agree states we have to agree on a mutually affordable college and if not we go to court.

    4. My daughter goes to a private school that her mom is a teacher at so free education.

    5.  My daughter is very bright.

    6. Q1: A friend family lawyer in mass said that I most likely will have to pay child support AND college tuition even though our agreement does not state this in the state of Massachusetts.  IS THIS TRUE? (we can't afford both payments with three other kids to put thru college)

    7. Q2: what if my daughter get into harvard and I can't afford it and we go to court, will the court force me to pay half?

    8. Q3: is my income factored into financial aid?

    9. Q4 is my current wifes? (I am non custodial parent)

    10. Q5 - will the courts factor in my two step children and my son with my wife?  My son with my current wife will not be in college at the same time as my daughter.  My step daughter will though.  Just curious... 

    11. Q6 - should I save for her in a 529 plan?  I have been told it will hurt her in financial aid.  Will it even though I am the non custodial?

    Thank you!

     

  • 02-16-2012 5:41 PM In reply to

    Re: Child Support AND College Support - have to pay both - in Ma

    11bet11:
    A friend family lawyer in mass said that I most likely will have to pay child support AND college tuition even though our agreement does not state this in the state of Massachusetts.  IS THIS TRUE?

    No.  The divorce decree is what determines when child support ceases.  Even if MA law allows for it to continue through college if your decree says it ends upon 18 or graduating high school it ends.  You must petition the court to end it however, it is not automatic.

    11bet11:
    Q2: what if my daughter get into harvard and I can't afford it and we go to court, will the court force me to pay half?

    No.  The decree states that the college must be affordable.  Even though Harvard is excellent no one would argue it is "affordable." 

    11bet11:
    Q3: is my income factored into financial aid?

    Yes.

    11bet11:
    Q4 is my current wifes? (I am non custodial parent)

    No.  The FAFSA goes off the custodial parent/spouse or custodial parent and noncustodial parent if the custodial parent has not remarried.

    11bet11:
    Q5 - will the courts factor in my two step children and my son with my wife?  My son with my current wife will not be in college at the same time as my daughter.  My step daughter will though.

    Massachusetts courts do consider other children.  However, the step daughter is Mom and Dad's responsibility not yours so they may not consider her.

    11bet11:
    Q6 - should I save for her in a 529 plan?  I have been told it will hurt her in financial aid.  Will it even though I am the non custodial?

    All sources of income are considered and ANYTHING you have saved up is only a benefit: it is less that must be borrowed if full scholarship is not possible.  Saving for college is never a bad idea.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 02-16-2012 6:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Child Support AND College Support - have to pay both - in Ma

    I am assuming you divorced in MA.

    So did I.

    If your divorce decree says child support ends when they attend college, I'd say that's your Bible.

    I am actually paying both child support as well as college expenses (not to mention covering the medical insurance, and life insurance on myself).

    So it sounds like you did ok here actually if you want an opinion.

    I was fortunate that my daughters each have gotten scholarships and my ex wife would have to pay 1/2 of whatever the price was, and she can't afford to pay for anything.  So so far, it's not been bad.

    Personally, I think it's crazy that legally they can put you on the hook for college, when if you were still married, it would be what you can afford. However, my opinion changes nothing.

    If I were you, I'd be talking to my lawyer to be sure it's crystal clear what you are responsible for and what you are not.

    It sounds pretty unlikely you'd be on the hook for Harvard if your financials clearly show that was impossible for you to do.

    As far as I have been told, MA is unique on this child support after 18, and basically paying for their college education.  My gosh, I'll be paying "child support" til my daughters are in their mid 20's.

    Good luck!

     

     

  • 02-16-2012 7:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Child Support AND College Support - have to pay both - i...

    My husband's ex (never married) and child still reside in MA and that is where his order is out of.

    His orders are completely silent as to college ... in regards to CS, on one document it says "Child support terminates at (x) 18" so that is what we are going by.  We have decided to keep mouths shut and file for termination just before she graduates HS to get a court date for just after she is done with school just to be safe.  We have no problem contributing to her education, but we'd rather deal with her and not her mother.

    As for the taking into consideration of other children, I believe that just deals with Child support (but again, we haven't dealt with college....yet.).  My husband DID get a reduction in guideline support because he has 3 other children.  You cannot use the children after the fact to get a reduction, but you can use them as a defense of raising it.  His ex had waited 7 years between asking for an increase...during which time he had 3 kids.  They took his income and my income and calculated CS between us (should we get divorced) and DEDUCTED the amount from his gross pay.  Then that number was run with ex's salary and the new number was reached.  He got a reduction of over $75 a week off guidelines.  You cannot go back to court and say, "hey I got these kids now, reduce my CS".. and its only for children that are YOURS..step kids don't count.

  • 02-16-2012 10:46 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 48,908

    Re: Child Support AND College Support - have to pay both - in Ma

     

    MA or NJ--issues may differ.--I'm more familiar with NJ.

    Harvard might be cheaper than Rutgers depending on aid package--so be careful not to assume too much

    Different views of loans as part of aid.

    Tuition remission is not a common issue so I'm not sure how its addressed---Yes, I fully understand exactly how lucrative it can be; free and untaxed. .  I seem to recall one thread that smelled like parent had full remission at a super school but steered child to a high cost school so as to "punish" EX.  Then  was child with a free ride to Harvard , Princeton ,Stanford  and a couple others  who chose a state school well out of anybodys running for top anything.

    Some kids always think the grass is greener 1000 miles away --and they have no concept of return on educational investment.--(If the school has a  mere 40% graduation rate in 4 years and its graduates average totally lackluster  job offers and $$  ---was it a good invesntment?What is the marketplace telling you? )

    FAFSA excludes the NCP and any new spouse from aid equation.

    Private colleges can look at anything they want.

    State view for support includes the NCP ability to pay--and might well include new spouse income and any new family.

    State might benchmark support to a leading public instuition in state with jurisdiction --if kid picks  ulta expensive school w no aid--thats not included.  Be careful --If MA benchmarks a MA school --out of state tuition may be high if kid is a NJ resident.

     

    529 plans owned by NONparent  are not counted assets under FAFSA , they are counted heavily if owned by parent or child(UTMA) -generally not a good place--in my state it is easy to change plan ownership however...

     

     



  • 02-20-2012 8:22 AM In reply to

    • 11bet11
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-21-2006
    • MA
    • Posts 62

    Re: Child Support AND College Support - have to pay both - i...

    Hello,  I found your post interesting.  My husband's ex came back three years ago and went for an increase in child support.  At the time we had a one year old boy between us.  We were going to use that he had another child as a defense but when we realized that they would also look at my income, we thought we would lose.  His ex is a single mom, so her income looks really low to ours combined.  But we have 4 kids total to support and she has one with my hubby.  I have two kids from a previous marriage but my ex is sick and unable to pay support so my income is relied on 100% for my two kids. 

    However,  (per your post) when I ran what my hubby would have to pay me for the one child if we divorced and backed it out of his income and then combined his and his ex wife's, his support would have been lower by $60 a week!!. 

    Are you sure about this calculation?  I thought that their child's support comes first (because they were married first and she is the first child) and our child together support would be calculated after taking out what he has to pay her, should he and I divorce.  Does that make sense?

    Maybe, when I take the calculation, I should take out what he has to pay her, to figure out what he would have to pay me should we divorce and then run hers and his again and back out my final figure?  Is that how it should be done? I am confused.

  • 02-21-2012 4:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Child Support AND College Support - have to pay both - in Ma

    Your income will not be a factor on the FAFSA.  Any child support you paid in the base year will be included as mom's income.  Depending on where she ends up, the school may require your information before awarding institutional aid, but it's not a factor in federal aid.

    If you open a college savings account in YOUR name, not your daughter's, it won't count against her aid package because you are not the custodial parent.

     

     

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