My Ex Wants Me To Pay Half Of College Tuition

college tuitionQuestion:

My child performed very poorly his first year in college. My ex-wife made the unilateral decision to send him back this fall, though our marital settlement agreement states all major decisions should be discussed.

She did not discuss with me until she had paid his tuition in full, signed a lease for an apartment, and re-enrolled him and she was wanting me to reimburse her per the divorce decree provisions.

What are my rights? Does the section on paying half of college expenses trump the section on major decisions being discussed in good faith and agreed to by both parties?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

An overall marital settlement agreement is a contract between the parties and, as such, can be governed by contract law. Therefore, both parties must fulfill their obligations under the agreement or they will be considered in breach of the contract and can be taken to court for enforcement of the provisions of the agreement.

If you and your ex-wife must discuss and agree on all major decisions before an action (such as sending your child back to school), then your ex-wife could be in breach of the agreement and therefore, you could possibly have recourse to not pay your portion of the tuition and reasonable expenses.

However, if there is no provision stating that you must agree on the decision, then you could be responsible for your portion of the costs.

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Who Pays For College?

If you believe that your ex-wife is in breach of the agreement, you could file a Petition for Contempt and move the matter to court to have a judge decide, with more clarity, what each of your rights and obligations are with regard to the payment of tuition and living expenses.

Some areas in which you could possibly use clarification are: does your child have to explore grants and student loans before enrolling, does the child have an obligation to seek reasonable housing costs, what are considered normal and reasonable college expenses, etc.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Caroline J. Thompson, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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