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I guess more of a vent about split households

2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
Long been divorced. I had contributed to a college savings funds while married but I guess the new wife says thats now "her money" and my ex controls it post divorce. Oldest just finished 1st year in college and dad wont give him a penny from the fund. Im paying 100% of oldest sons tuition (tech school luckily so it isnt super expensive, kid is working and paying some of his living expenses).

Kid #2 is only a sophomore now but based on whats happened with kid #1, Im worried. This child is openly dad and stepmoms favorite so Im crossing my fingers that this kid will be allowed some access to the college savings fund. His grades will be solid but not spectacular. He may have a chance at free tuition at Jesuit schools thanks to me.

Kid lives with me more than half the time but dad claims him on taxes every year (court ordered). Dad makes about 180k a year, I make 80-90k a year (depends on how many hours I pick up at my second job). Kid #1 may be done or have 1 year left of school when #2 starts (covid is putting a bit of a delay in plans for my oldest sons major). Theres also kid #3 whos 2 years behind #2.

I know theres time left but money makes me worry. Kids had planned on getting a couple thousand from this fund but stay at home stepmom decided they all should buy a farm and I think their college money is gone. Im putting money away as much as I can now.

I dont want my kids in huge debt for college and I guess Im just sad that their options will be even more limited now that the college fund I contributed to for over a decade while married isnt even going to go to my kids. I know all us parents stress about money and this just throws an extra wrench into my plans. Deep breaths and focusing on the positives here.





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Replies to: I guess more of a vent about split households

  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4953 replies19 threads Senior Member
    1. What specific kind(s) of "college savings funds" did you contribute to while married to your ex.

    2. Who is the legal owner/custodian of those funds.
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  • blossomblossom 10386 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Dad consistently paying child support? What does divorce decree say about dad's contributions to college? Dad controls the college fund because it was a money market which went to him when your asset were split, or because your lawyer didn't advise you to move the funds into a 529????

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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24804 replies20 threads Senior Member
    If your son lives with you for more of the year (more overnights) than with his father, your info is used for FAFSA. It doesn't matter who takes the tax deduction.

    Under the new tax law, it really isn't that advantageous to take the tax dependent, usually just one $500 credit. If the father really makes $180k, probably won't qualify for the AOTC anyway (the student must be a dependent to get that benefit).

    If he can get a tuition benefit at a Jesuit school, go for it.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84343 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    Yes, if your son can get a tuition break at Jesuit schools go that route for sure.

    Younger son probably needs to discuss with dad if he will contribute towards college from that fund. Do you know how much is in it?


    I don’t understand how a married couple can have a college fund for their kids, get divorced, and yet the court doesn’t mandate that the fund be used for the kids from THAT marriage. Weird. Is this because wife’s lawyer screwed up?

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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
    It was a 529 to start with. We put it in my ex's name at first as he direct deposited money into it from his paychecks. I would then pull money from my paychecks to add to it. We divorced on very good terms in the beginning so it was my fault for trusting that he would protect that money.
    The shorter version is we had 50/50 split of the children and we shared all expenses. College is not specified on our court order. Recently my ex attempted to get full custody of the children and in the end the courts found him and his wife to be manipulative and using the children as pawns and took away placement time from him. I had to spend over 30K in lawyers fees to protect myself. But yes I am now getting a higher child support amount of which I am putting into a fund myself for my other two children.

    I am very thankful that I have this potential benefit from my job however with the current financial state of some of these private colleges I am a bit fearful the benefit won't be around or it will be much less than it used to be.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78287 replies3528 threads Senior Member
    Is one of the Jesuit colleges one where your kid can commute to college if necessary? If so, with free tuition, and ability to commute, the costs to attend could possibly be paid by the $5500 Direct Loan the student could take as a freshman, plus the amount does increase annually.

    Any chance any of these kids could qualify for merit aid someplace?
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  • jym626jym626 57689 replies3023 threads Senior Member
    So sorry you are going through this. Another thought, depending on where you live and what is available in your area, your younger s. may want to consider getting a job at a place like Chick-Fil-A, which has some scholarship opportunities available for their employees.
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  • SOSConcernSOSConcern 3911 replies8 threads Senior Member
    Wow @2plustrio it sounds like ex's 2nd wife was thinking there was more money with her marriage, and now she is squeezing as much as she can.

    Yea, get full custody to not pay the child support difference between the two incomes.
    So does the new wife have children and her ex is not as good of a provider as she wants?

    So sorry you had to pay $$ to shut down some of the manipulation.

    I do think the kids are going to have to make the requests from the college money and hope for the best.

    You could probably get the deposit records on the college account and figure out more on that, but in the end you don't want to put the dad in a bad light with his kids. They can figure that out themselves as time goes on.

    What state are you in?
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
    @SOSConcern

    New wife has 1 teen child she brought to the marriage and I know that the childs father pays substantial child support and makes 6 figures. New wife has never really worked a real job and has lived off her husbands.

    The oldest child just went to his dad asking for some help with summer tuition based on the fact that hes doing great his first year of classes. Dad said yes. Then stepmom came out, picked a fight with my kid by swearing at him and informed my son that it was "her money".

    Middle kid is the favorite so I am hoping when its his turn that his requests for some assistance with college fund might be honored.

    The kids all want to go away to college to get away from all the drama and I support them in doing so. Middle kid only has a 3.5 gpa so not sure what merit he might get but time will tell.

    I really hope that some of these private schools will get through this quarantine nightmare and not take away all the "benefits" for employees but I understand higher education is sadly a business.
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  • blossomblossom 10386 replies9 threads Senior Member
    You might want to mention to your ex that it's going to be a LOT cheaper for him to use the college funds to which you contributed than to have you take him back to court to re-do his support obligations re: the younger kids. (under 18, right?) Cheaper, less hassle, and less monthly aggravation. And does not require a lawyer.
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
    Our county judges do not see college as a required split expense. I attempted to come to an agreement with this last court motion that my ex initiated but hit a wall with nowhere else to go. I had to protect my kids in other ways so I let go of the college tuition assistance requests. Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war. In the end, its just my pocketbook and the fact that kids may have less options than what they would have liked.
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  • blossomblossom 10386 replies9 threads Senior Member
    2- I get it, but I didn't mean relitigate the college tuition angle, but to request an increase in support for your two minor children. They are living with you more than half the time; teenagers are more expensive than they were when your initial agreement was crafted, he's still making more money than you.....

    Hugs. Not easy being a parent.
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 354 replies7 threads Member
    blossom wrote: »
    2- I get it, but I didn't mean relitigate the college tuition angle, but to request an increase in support for your two minor children. They are living with you more than half the time; teenagers are more expensive than they were when your initial agreement was crafted, he's still making more money than you.....

    Hugs. Not easy being a parent.

    Well, in the attempt to get full custody and him opening up a court case 8 years post divorce, he had to submit new financials. Oldest aged out (as in graduated hs and turned 18) as this last case took 2 years (ex kept requesting new investigators and they all came to the same conclusion that his wife isnt a nice person).

    So anyways, I gained slightly more custody but he went from having to pay for 3 kids to only 2 kids. Idiot made his fatal mistake by filing a frivolous claim and it bit in him the tookus.

    I dont feel bad at all that with the new calculations that he has to pay DOUBLE the child support he was before. While I would love for it to all go to kids education, I have to pay my legal debts and such first. (well, that and kids are not cheap!) But yes, a good chunk is now being filed away as I can't trust him. Its not going to be enough to make up in the only 3 years I have before middle child goes to college but its a start.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30394 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Happens all of the time. If the 529 belongs to Ex , he can change the beneficiary and even deplete it. So that’s now a dead end. Up to your kids and their father as to what he is going to pay towards their educations each year if you are not part of the equation anymore in these decisions.

    Who takes the kids as dependents for the child and dependent credit can be assigned , and stipulated in the divorce agreement. Who the custodial parent is,— well, that’s determined by who has the child the most per IRS rules and Financial aid forms too.

    Given your income levels, your kids are not going to get the PELL grant, and so subsidized and non subsidized direct loans ($5500 first year) is all the federal government is likely to give. Maybe some work study. Those schools that use FAFSA only do not tend to meet full need.

    It’s would be wise to run Net Price Calculators (NPC) for some types of schools and see what you may be expected to pay. In a divorce situation, PROFILE schools will hit up the financials of the other parent (and spouse) as well so , it’s difficult to see what sort of aid is possible. Frankly, given the numbers you r given us, i think substantial financial aid is not going to happen. Pricey Private schools are not going to be giving out big aid packages to your kids because they will be expecting you and your Ex to be contributing what I believe will be more than he and his wife will be willing to pay. I think your kids are going to have to pick their schools accordingly. It’s great you have tuition remission benefits, and yes, I too, hope you can keep them.

    I’m sorry you and your kids are going through this. It’s sadly typical in divorce and remarriage scenarios. It also happens in intact households as well when one parent does not want to pay what colleges expect from the family. It happens all of the time. Those kids who end up going away to college have parents willing and able to pay what those colleges expect them to pay, except for the few who can get merit scholarships to more than cover the gap.
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