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Money Drain: $79,000+ Lost Due to My Children’s Right to College Education

My husband was divorced many years ago and paid regular child support for his children. When I met him he was doing pretty well, but had no savings and a large expensive home.

When his oldest child was about to start college we found out that in the state where he divorced his ex-wife or his children by law could sue to have all college costs paid for, which included room, board, books, tuition etc. till they graduate. Apparently it is a right in that state to have a college education if your parents are divorced.

Not long after we found this out, my poor husband lost his job and the judge ruled in favor of the children, meaning he would be responsible for all of their college expenses. Both of them.

A few years later, and after a few years of unemployment for my husband, he makes okay money at a new job. He has to pay at least $525/month to his adult children over the next several year. To make matters worse, the judge is going to allow his ADULT children to sue after graduation for their student loans!

Our totals so far:
$7,000 to attorneys with $12,000 more at 20% interest.
Sold my husbands beautiful (but expensive) home for $60,000 less than it was worth
May have to file for bankruptcy due to an additional property we have that we are overwhelmingly underwater on.

Submitted by: Roxanne

Lesson Learned:
This is a heart-breaking story with many lessons. The divorce lawyer should have known about this education stipulation and informed the husband way back when so he could prepare for this. On the same note, the husband should have done his own research and took the time to prepare for his children’s college education as well.

Not having a savings that might help cover these court fees, and having two properties that you can’t afford would be another set of mistakes that could have been avoided. You have to live below your means and prepare an emergency savings because -everyone- experiences some sort of tragedy at some point in their life. Not having a fund to protect yourself is negligence on your part, and towards your family or others who depend on you.

As for the ex-wife and children, while I can understand the desire for the children to go to college, I am disgusted by the lengths anyone is willing to destroy someone else’s financial situation to do so. A lot of people pay their own way through college, divorced parents or not. It seems like a very spoiled way to go about things to sue your own father, or even sue the father of your children to pay for their college education. There is no entitlement to anyone except to have a fair shot and to reap rewards that you EARN.

Amount Flushed Down the Money Drain: $79,000 not including what was paid for the children’s education, which I can only imagine is $100,000+??

About Crystal Groves, Google+

Crystal Groves is a farmer, web developer, musician, blogger, and personal finance enthusiast from the back hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She started Money Drain as a project to encourage people interested in fixing their financial situation to share their stories and learn from the stories of others. We all make mistakes, but in order to change we have to make changes.

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One Response to Money Drain: $79,000+ Lost Due to My Children’s Right to College Education

  1. Melissa says:

    This is shocking! A university education is not a RIGHT and parents shouldn’t be required to pay for it for their kids. My question is, what kind of damage is this doing to the kids in terms of their relationship with their father AND their financial literacy, if all they’re learning is that if they sue the right person, they won’t have to worry about paying for anything for themselves, ever.

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