Mohegan Lake, NY asked in Family Law and Child Support for New York

Q: What is required regarding college acceptance for my daughter with her father - do I need approval or is notification OK

Divorce agreement states each party shall be informed of any major decisions to be made concerning education of the children and consent of both parties shall be obtained prior to making any decisions. Agreement ALSO states it is the parties' intention that the children attend college until they obtain undergraduate degree and Husband agrees to pay 50% of cost of college with cost to be no higher than a SUNY college. Daughter is looking to accept an out-of-state college (non-SUNY). Regardless of the fact that the cost of said college is LESS than in-state SUNY College, as her father's portion is capped, and the paperwork states it is the intention she goes to college - do I need to obtain prior consent for her to accept/commit to the out-of-state college she is looking to attend? Or, is just notification of the impending decision sufficient?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Peter Christopher Lomtevas
Peter Christopher Lomtevas pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Schenectady, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: We are unable to accurately guide and advise an asker as to what the meaning of a snippet of a stip (the stipulation of settlement of the parties ending the divorce action) really says. We would be embarking on a risky ride down troubling lane.

Nonetheless, assuming arguendo that the asker accurately writes what her stip says, then there is serious trouble awaiting the asker based on the language.

First and most important is that this language removes any choice on the part of the child. The child selected a college, and may be unable to attend it unless both mother and father agree. This can be weaponized as a ruse to prohibit the child from going to college. We are not certain of this because we cannot see the entire stip.

Father can disapprove of the out of state college, and depending on the wording of the stipulations, can avoid paying for any out of state college. Again, we cannot see the stip to interpret what it says in its totality.

Perhaps the asker must see an attorney with a copy of her stip for a more cogent answer to her question.

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