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College support from NCP and other college issues...very long

Posted by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM
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3 moms liked this

I just finished reading through another thread, about how a BD was wanting to stop support when the kid graduated high school. Several ladies were upset that their former husbands would not contribute to the kids college education.  I am one of the lucky ones - it is in our support agreement that he will pay one third of college for my kids, with the expectation that I pay a third, and the kids pay a third themselves. My DH does not have to pay support for his kids after high school, unless he chooses to do so. 

Some states require college support , but many states dont. It makes mothers furious when their ex's cut off support at 18. I get it. We all need help to send our kids to college.  But studies have shown over and over, that the likelyhood of voluntary college support directly relates to how the NCP is treated in his kids lives. In short, he is much more likely to contribute if the relationship with the custodial parent is easy, there has been little fighting over the kids through the years, and the CP has done everything she can to keep the relationship strong for the kids. 

We are in this position now, where one of the Skids will be attending college next fall .  She is turning 18 in the spring, and at that time, we are going to reduce the child support to reflect the fact that only one child is still underage. Support will go from 1800 per month, to 1200 for the last remaining child, so it is still a nice chunk of change.

My DH's ex has spent the last 12 years badmouthing my DH. She still hates him , even after all this time. She has insisted the kids call their stepfather dad and their father by his first name ( but she hit the roof when one of the kids called me mom)  She has taken DH to court for an increase in support, and lost, and then went all apeshit, telling the kids their father is cheating them out of support, and that he is a deadbeat, even though he has NEVER been so much as late, and pays 1800 per month. Dh has paid for class rings, and school trips, and summer camps, and drivers ed,  and all transportation costs, all in addition to child support. He was not ordered to pay for those things, he did it because he loves his kids. In all these years, the ex has never had anything good to say about DH, and calls him that bastard in front of her kids. She still calls screaming at him  about things that happen at our home on his visitation time. If he says no to a request from her, she tells the kids that it is his fault that they cant do something, even though he rarely says no, and only with a very good reason. DH has never gotten a call on his birthday. He has never gotten an Xmas gift. He has never gotten a Fathers day gift or card. 

So, now SD is aging out of support and going to college.  Sd is a mediocre student, barely passing in some areas, but does well in others.  The state she lives in offers a full tuition scholarship to all students who can get a 20 on the ACT, but SD can only manage, so far ,a 17. A 17 on the ACT will get her free tuition to a community college, but SD doesnt want to go to CC because then she would have to live at home. SD says she wants to be a nurse, and she does well in her allied health classes, but her grades in Math and Science are horribly low.. c and d.  She hates math. She hates science. She hates English.   No one has discussed this with her, because the ex is a nurse, and by god, SD is going to be a nurse too. I finally sat her down and showed her the prerequistes she would have to take to get into a four year nursing program...nothing but science and math, and I pointed out to her that she had to have at least a 3.0 gpa in those prereqs just to apply to the nursing school...and that it was highly competitive and she is not likely to get in. 

SD was horrified at the idea of two more years of math and science. She said she really doesnt want to be a nurse, she wants to persue the other interest that she has ( that she is actually good at and has the grades to prove it). Her problem is the only school with that program is a CC and she doesnt want to live at home. I found her two colleges that have the program that she is good at. They have scholarships available for her as well, and yes, she would live on campus. Problem is, they are in OUR state, not her mothers. In her mothers, she has to take the course at a CC.  She was all excited because she found a program that she wants to study, and could live on campus to do so.  Then she went home to talk to her mother...

Mom said that SD is going to nursing school, and that is that, because mom doesnt want her studying the other area. Mom refuses to pay anything at all if SD doesnt go to the program mom chooses. Keep in mind, SD doesnt have a hope in hell of getting into a four year program with her grades. She just isnt talented in that area.  SD may not even get the tuition scholarship, so that cost will have to be paid. 

Our plan has been to pay one third, same as with my kids. We think that mom should pay a third, since she and  her new hubby have a high income and our household standards of living are roughly equal. We also think SD should have to pay for a third, either through loans or summer jobs, and that she should have to have a part time job during the school year of 10-15 hours a week to pay for her spending money.  We are, however, willing to contribute, even though it is not required by law, and even though SD isnt really 4 year college material .  We think her best option would be to attend the CC in her state, live at home, and we would buy her a car and pay the expenses for that, plus give her 4 hundred per month for expenses. That way she would come out with no debt.  We are also willing to pay the third,  if she attends the program she wants for the other area, even without the tuition scholarship, because we know she will do well at it. 

What we arent willing to do, is pay her tuition at a four year college in her state , if she takes nursing. If she doesnt have the ACT score to get the scholarship that is free to all students in her state, then she isnt going to succeed in a highly competitive program, where the cut off for people accepted after prereqs was a 3.6 last year, particularly since the prereqs are math and science.   Who wants to bet that when we refuse to pay tuition to a four year nursing program, we are going to be called deadbeats and blamed for it?

Now the latest is, mom has found SD a nursing program at a CC that will take her, and has on campus living. The problem is, it is in another state, and out of state tuition costs will apply. There is no way we are going to be willing to pay out of state tuition, so that is going to cause issues. We will pay 400 per month, plus one third of books and dorm, but that is it.  The sad part is, even though DH is willing to contribute, it will never be enough for the ex, and he will be badmouthed for it. SD will not be greatful, and will blame dadddddy because she has to live at home, or get a job, or take out loans. 

I feel badly for my DH. He loves his daughter, but unless he does exactly what mom and SD want, he gets painted as the bad guy and they will have a temper tantrum and cut him out of their lives. Mom will get all the thanks, Dad will get nothing but the bill.

So ladies, sometimes it isnt because dad doesnt want to pay. It is because he has been put down, left out of decisions, marginalized and critisized for years, and made to feel damned no matter what he does. Just had to get this off my chest.

by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM
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by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Couldn't agree more. My dh just had to tell his dd he couldn't help with college. Don't have the money and even if my dh could help he wouldn't. Bm never help foster a good relationship with him and his kids. His kids have called him horrific names and told him they didn't want him in their lives. My dh still sent them I love you emails,text and always sent them presents when he was on trips not to mention bday and Christmas presents. Kids didn't respond with even so much as a thank you. His youngest only text dh once a month if he's lucky,more if she wants some thing.  Youngest won't give up any thing to help herself get to college,still no job no car no money even though I talked to her about this last school year.

by on Sep. 19, 2013 at 2:59 PM

As a bit of an aside before I address the primary focus of your post:

I tutor nursing and medical students at Michigan State University.  Even kids who got straight A's throughout HS find themselves struggling at times with certain classes.  Having a tutor can really help.  So even if she does go out of state, even if no one can afford to help her with tuition and she has to get loans, I'd strongly suggest that someone think about helping to pay for a tutor right off the bat to get her off on the right foot.  All but 1 of my students in the last 6 years was a straight A student in HS.  The transition to college can be difficult for anyone.

As far as your post--even the 1/3 deal is no guarantee.  My folks' divorce decree stated the same.  Each parent 1/3, student 1/3.  Neither of my parents helped pay for a dime of my education.  My mom simply couldn't and my Dad didn't want to.  So it's no guarantee even if you put it in there.  

I am not necessarily convinced that parents "owe" it to their kids to pay for college.  My husband would like to help his kids--in fact, he wants to pay 100%.  But we are very unlikely to be in a position to do so in two year when my eldest SD is college bound.  

Wanting to help and being able to are not the same.  I'm sorry that BM in your situation is badmouthing your DH.  Hopefully, his daughter will figure it out in time--but it may take a lot of that--time.

by Gold Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 3:08 PM
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I do think it’s wrong for him to say, “I would have given you $xx.xx amount of money, but I’m deducting $xx.xx amount because you never spent time with me while you were growing up.” DH shouldn’t base the support he offers his child, based on the amount of conflict he had with BM.


If Dad wants to offer support he should clearly outline what exactly he’s offering (ex : set a specific dollar amount vs. saying things like, “I’ll pay for your textbooks.”) and what he expects it to be used for (ex : “I’m giving you $1000 to pay for your textbooks and your on campus meals”).

by Bronze Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 3:29 PM
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My son is paying back student loans. I believe college should not burden the parents nor keep them from having savings and retirement of their own. DH and I just paid SS's remaining bill for his first semester after scholarships and the student loans he was awarded on his FAFSA. BM and SS seem to expect we will pay for everything since we have 2 incomes. DH goes along and somehow feels it's his responsibility but he is counting on SS to do a summer internship the rest of his college years.  I've helped my son with his loans when he needed it but he is making more money than I am, which was the goal of college. If parents can pay for it, that is wonderful but you should definitely have a say where your money goes and you should be treated with appreciation by the child. I think you are being very fair with expectations and concerns.

by Ruby Member on Sep. 19, 2013 at 3:30 PM
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I'm sitting here in my DDs sophomore year apartment helping her move in. I have to agree with the idea that a positive relationship with kids makes it easier for a parent to pay for college. BF pays 1/3, I pay 1/3 and DD pays 1/3. I cover personal expenses andd books and food to balance CS, that is still owed while under 21 child is in school. BF pays willingly. At least so far. He has no legal obligation to pay for college.

I dont believe any parent should be legally obligated to pay for college. CODs should have no special rights. I hear the arguments regarding the importance of college and BF would just disappear and never pay and my answer to that is so what. The "child" is no longer a child and needs to take responsibility for their own life. Maybe they just have a loser parent or maybe they have just alienated that parent and have treated them like a checkbook only for years. Who cares where the fault lies. When you turn 18, sometimes the harsh reality is hard.
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by on Sep. 21, 2013 at 1:10 AM

I wouldnt care, hes done his duty; she is grown. He has nothing to feel bad about. I will not be paying for my kids to go to college. I cant afford it and its not my responsibilty. I will only help them. I worked through college and so can they!  His daughter needs to chill with the guilt trip 

by Bronze Member on Sep. 21, 2013 at 6:35 AM
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 I do not agree with paying for kids' college simply because the parents divorced. Had the parents remained together, there would be no requirement for the parents to pay for college. Why should someone have to pay for college simply because they chose to separate from their child's other parent?

by on Sep. 21, 2013 at 11:50 AM
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 i agree with you completely. and i think dh thinking about the whole situation is smart. he's willing to help his daughter get through school and support her, but not throw money away if you know she won't succeed. you don't have to do this, but here's a suggestion. give SD x amount of money to put towards college (and put the rest of whatever you were originally willing to contribute aside). if the nursing program goes as you anticipate, she'll likely drop out in the first year. then she'll stand up to bm about what SHE wants and change courses. IF she ends up in the program that she's good at, fund her college as you had planned. if she drops out, it's less money lost. if she does well and continues in the nursing program, give her the money in the END to pay off the student loans. basically, she has to work hard and earn the money. otherwise, she's left with the loans. her choice.

by on Sep. 21, 2013 at 12:15 PM
As much as we would want to, we will not be financially able to help SD pay for college. There is a possibility if DH gets back in the reserves we can use his GI bill and education benefits to help. We have already told SD14 that this is the reality of our situation and she will have to work or get scholarships or loans to help pay for school. I got a half tuition scholarship for college and worked 32 hours a week in addition to taking a full load of classes. It can be done if she wants it bad enough. But she also needs to study something that interests her or she won't be willing to put in the time and effort on the studies. Too bad BM can't see that
by Silver Member on Sep. 21, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Sd is now legally an adult. Dh should talk to her like one and explain where you are coming from. Bm can say what ever she wants to. Who cares. I suggest that dh offer sd your original 1/3 proposal and if she passes all her classes you and dh will reimburse her for the other third she paid herself. I think that is totally fair this way sd has some skin in the game and doesn't just waste your money she will be wasting her own if she doesn't perform

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