Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

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Latest post Tue, Jan 3 2017 1:14 PM by Jsin70. 75 replies.
  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 7:02 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    I would not rule out that Mom/daughter are deliberately keeping you in dark until application/aid deadlines for top instate schools have passed and thus make it near impossible to cooperate as per order  ...discuss with your paid MA lawyer 

    One of my Ivy pals teaches at a NJ community college ...he tells me his best students are every bit the equal of the ones we had at Ivy .....ok, he ducks as to some of the rest ....but if daughter schemes past many deadlines..the community colleges may be more liberal! 

     



  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 7:27 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    IF per your post,mom has yet to even address college choices under the language of the order 

     

    why are you presuming to know too much too soon...?



  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 7:47 AM In reply to

    • Jsin70
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    hmm, I left out some important info!  Last year, her junior year, I sent mom a text and said what are you thinking for colleges.  CP sent back text and listed 10-15 schools all out of state.  I replied and said I am requesting that daughter also needs to include some in state schools as we are required to agree on a "mutually affordable college". and that child will need to apply for fin aid, merit, etc as per the divorce agreement.  CP wrote back and said all colleges are expensive.  I SAVED this for proof that I requested this.

    Flash forward to senior year, I had heard nothing from either CP or child regardinig  schools. they went and applied to all of them and visited them without ever telling me or including me.   I called Guidance counselor and she gave me access to her colleges she is applying to.  They were ALL different than last year but still no in state colleges.  They were all out of state colleges and very expensive. 

    SO I called my lawyer.  He said send a certified letter to CP stating what the agreement mandates "mutually affordable college" and that no parent can choose a college without the other parents consent and that if the child refuses to apply for financial aid, merit, loans, parent can withhold consent. I also asked for meeting with guidance counselor with  two of us prior to end of December.  I also asked that she apply to in state schools for safety schools as we don't know what  final award packages will be and agreement states the college needs to be mutually affordable. Attorney advised me if I don't do anything or say anything prior to all deadlines, courts could assume my consent to anything.  So, I sent the certified letter and paid extra that the only one who can sign for it was CP.  BUT the post office let my child sign for it.Surprise surprise, I have NOT heard back from CP.

    I am going to follow up this week with an email to CP with the letter again and would also like to include language that what is common  in mass for contributions 1/3  and in state and once again ask that  she apply to some in state schools.  (it is not too late and I will have requested this three times) 

    At this point, I believe I have covered all my bases when and  if we go to court.  I don't see how they can order me to pay full child support and also contribution toward an out of state private school when I have requested in state etc.. Of course no one knows, but I think I have done all I can do?  Thoughts?

  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 11:20 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    Agree,  I would be proactive as suggested  so as to not have any silence at my end be twisted as form of acquience to her list .

    But assume every word you write is up,for being taken out of context...and I'd not comment about safety schools or in state status ....any kid can torpedo an application to a schools where they seek a rejection.   And I would not cmment on MA law..I'm sure Mom is already concocting reasons around it  ..and your other near term potential  obligations are not directly part of this order and resolution.

    Me, I might provide a careful list of,schools wo comment as to ones that may be consistent with the order . Say 30 schools  inc a few out of state affordable ones ........

    There are lots of affordable,schools and programs out there . 

    I might ask her first what her view of her contribution might be ...need not tell her what is common in MA...I sure she is ahead of you on that one . 

    I might put my tentative number for combined support/college on the table LATER

     

     

     



  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 11:33 AM In reply to

    • Jsin70
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    ok, thank you.  First I am going to try to figure out what her EFC might be.  Her being a single mom, never remarried might really help and I am getting too worried over something I should not.

    That still confuses me a bit.  If the school costs 44K and her EFC is 12K, then the school gives a combo of grants and  loans for the difference (if they generally meet needs), I would expect the CP will say well part of that loan amount needs to be on the NCP plus his % of the EFC....  If that is the way it works...

     

     

  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 12:32 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    Stop trying to second guess every issue not under your control,.

    odds are you can estimate her EPC range.....call it 12 

    crank your own ..call it 13

    Her EPC counts a lot in college math but not necessarily in court .

     

    IF you cap it on UMass ...that is a bit below 30

    1/3 of 30 is 10'

    IF Mom and daughter want luxury school ....they can spend more ?  BUt I'd  focus on MY logical,cap range and how to fit that into MA court ....

     

     

     

     



  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 1:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    I am not an expert on these things, but apparently there is a whole system where the prospective student applies for financial aid and the college's financial aid office puts together a package that may include loans, grants, and/or student-job income but will also include a number, called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which represents how much money the parents are expected to pay.

    This website has a calculator that should help you get an idea of how much your EFC is likely to be.  The EFC might be somewhat different from one college to the next, but I think each college that accepts her will show her her financial-aid package (including the EFC) before she has to make her final decision.

    Here's another link where you can check the accuracy of the above calculator for the Federal Methodology.

  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 1:23 PM In reply to

    • Jsin70
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    Thank you.  I did some more research, the EFC  caclulation for FAFSA includes child support and 401k contributions.  So, my child support will reduce her EFC.  I find that interesting, because fast forward to court over college and child support, if they reduce my child supports payment because she is in college, then my ex EFC goes down!   hmmm,  too bad my ex and I could not strategically work on this to get the best EFC!!!! Also, this works against me in mass court because the EFC is lower so she actually needs more $$, so they will not reduce child support and order a larger amount for college contribution.  What a mind twister!

  • Wed, Nov 30 2016 2:09 PM In reply to

    • Jsin70
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    I did her est. EFC and I think it is around 14K.  Hard to determine.  So, if a school is 20K, then our demonstrated need is 6K if the school meets 50% of demonstated need, does that mean it meets 50% of the  students applicants 100% need or 50% of each students need?  I am thinking the latter, So in my example, the school would meet 3K instead the whole demonstrated need of 6K?  (20K less 14K)

  • Thu, Dec 1 2016 5:32 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    NO : Read the FAFSA methodology more carefully ....EFC is based just on custodial parents math. You are not n picture ....yes, mom is supposed to properly account for child support in her math and application.  The same FAFSA goes to all achools who follow same .  

     

    ME, I'd focus on factors which cap my contribution under MA views .... and your attorney's advice as to being active in joint selection with mom of affordable schools   Per your post..mom/daughter have rather expensive schools in mind 

    and be careful not to double count CS    If you use FAFSA as an estimate of your supposed ability to pay..the official math is based on AGI and that does not deduct CS ...( last I looked some years  ago..you look at current rules..they change. ) MA might use it as a measure of your ability to pay 

    Based on your earlier posts about moms failure to properly address her counted income under MA rules I would take care as accuracy of FAFSA she /daughter files .

     



  • Thu, Dec 1 2016 7:04 AM In reply to

    • Jsin70
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    I agree.  Focusing on FAFSA and EFC is difficult. I am going to focus on capping per MA views and the affordable schools required in our divorce agreement.  I will search for some recent case laws.  (any suggestions where to look?)  I know my attorny probably has better access but I would like to save fees where I can for now!

    If I focus on capping contribution per MA views and affordable schools, how should I think about the child support piece of it? If it is possible to be reduced a substantial amount because I am paying so much toward college?  Also, I know CP still has to maintain a home for dependent child, but she is in a townhome with only two bedroom that is not very big.  I can't imagine her in something smaller even without dependent child, so she would be paying the same regardless in my opinion.  Plus if I am paying for a food plan at college, CP is not buying all that food at home... Just some ideas that come to mind.  Additionally, I pay almost 20K in child support and that is supposed to be a shared income calculation with CP, so if you estimate her shared portion at 10K to be conservative, you can't tell me it costs her 30K to maintain a house for a dependent child while she is away 9 months at college?  Agree?

    Thank you!!

  • Thu, Dec 1 2016 7:23 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    I think you keep introducing factors which are way off the point of your support calculation under MA guidelines .

     

    I think there are two core areas..

    (1) to cap your share of college costs under the 1/3 of U Mass instate view

     (2) to sort out to what extent MA might adjust CS when your college portion is factored in relative to your ability to pay and whatever MA considers .   Worst case is zero adjustments...college plus college ..in 30 + range....at first pass you don't care what MA calls it...just the final total !!

     

    I want to dust out a few of my cobwebs ...

     

     

     



  • Thu, Dec 1 2016 7:55 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    ON second pass my cobweb suggests you triple check how FAFSA factors in support as in child support 

     

    In general court ordered support is a form of counted income on FAFSA available for student to use 

    BUT  in what block it goes may have big impact on aid math . 

    IF you are ordered to pay Mom $25K total  that may count far less towards her required contribution than if you were ordered to pay same entire 25K to child ....it might be as big as 3:1 difference in aid math .( Mom is expected to spend say  1/3 for college v child is expected to spend all her income above a modest offset ) 

    It gets confusing....you dig. 

     

     



  • Thu, Dec 1 2016 8:08 AM In reply to

    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    After realizing that both the Institutional Methodology and the Federal Methodology for Expected Family Contribution are only applied to the custodial parent and the student, i.e. the noncustodial parent is not expected to provide financials on the application for financial aid, I think the "agree on a mutually affordable college" wording in your divorce agreement may be moot.

    As long as the school your daughter chooses to attend follows one of those "standard" methodologies (or another method that also ignores the noncustodial parent's financial information), and provides an aid package that covers all or most of her financial need, then that school will be "affordable" for the parents no matter HOW high its tuition and other costs might be.

    One exercise to try as a way of finding out what the higher-education establishment (and therefore, possibly the judge who might adjudicate on your college contribution) thinks is affordable for you would be to enter all your information as though you were the parent who has to apply, with zeros for your daughter's income and assets, and see what EFC the calculators come up with.  It would not surprise me if the court used that number/those numbers to adjudicate what's "affordable" for you to contribute, though of course I know nothing about what a judge in MA might actually do.

    One final caution:  this was way back in the 1980s, but the Ivy League colleges back then would not give financial aid without taking into account BOTH parents' financials even if they were divorced.  My father was kind enough to submit his financial information to MIT when my brother went there, but my brother had to come up with Dad's calculated contribution himself, by working better-paid summer jobs than most students could get.  If the school your daughter selects has that policy, then you could be court-ordered to pay what the school says is your part of the family contribution.  Might want to contact a few of the schools on your daughter's list and ask that question.

  • Thu, Dec 1 2016 9:44 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Massachusetts College Costs and changing child support

    Well,,sort of.....the custodial parents financials  lag by one year on income ...so Dad's existing CS 2016. is the correct number that is supposed to be on CP/child's form for 2017/2018.  

     

    I disagree that MA court should view language in one of its own orders as moot .  OP has posted earlier the MA guidelines 

     

    it is illogical to compute separate contributions by separate parent and add them together as definitive but a trial set of numbers based on dad, might be postured as a cap on parental contributions if higher than moms . But as posted the numbers seem similar ...then to take the higher of the two and prorate it  over both might suggest dad comes up with 55% of 14 and Mom 45% 



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