Hollywood, MD asked in Contracts and Family Law for Maryland

Q: Am I responsible for paying a loan that’s not in my name but being used to pay my daughters college balance?

Daughters mother took a loan out to pay daughter college. Never asked or consulted me. There’s nothing in our paperwork saying I’m responsible to pay her college. Now her mother wants me to pay the loan.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: (1) Are you married to your daughter's mother?

(2) Are you divorced from your daughter's mother?

(3) Is there a marital separation agreement or any other type of signed agreement bewteen the two of you that provides for payment of college tuition, and if so, what exactly doe it say?

If you are not married, then in the absence of a written agreement between you and the mother, there is no legal oblgation of a parent to pay the college tuition costs of an emancipated adult child. At least, not in Maryland.

You might feel a moral obligation to support your daughter's college education by helping pay some of the costs. I imagine her mother will let it be known that you were asked but refused to help. Your daughter may wonder, do you not care enough about her to help out--assuming her mother needs the financial help, and you are in a financial position to do so. But that is a matter that affects your relationship with your daughter and how you want that relationship to be, not a legal matter. The question you should ask yourself is, assuming you can help financially, do you want to be able to look your daughter in the eye and say you gladly helped pay for her college education? It's not about her mother or any legal obigation to her mother.

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