Divorced and how to pay for my kids college

<p>I have an amicable divorce with a child preparing to go to college next year. It's amicable much because I didn't fight about finances and although we live in a community state with very black and white calculations for child support, he doesn't pay as much as he should each month. I figured I had to go back to work anyway, I didn't want to drag our kids through a lot of turmoil due to finances. I also have 100% physical custody of the kids, provide them with a nice house and their own bedrooms (I tried to keep them in the same type of housing as before the divorce).
He chose to live in a small one bedroom so he has no real space for the kids to stay over unless they want to stay on the couch. He is now remarried and his income is almost double mine as it is, but now also has his new wife's income in addition. They lead a very care free life, no responsibilities to the kids unless they want to do fun stuff with them etc. I am not complaining, I love having my kids and being 100% responsible for them. </p>

<p>My question is this: He is expecting to split college costs, but I will be maintaining my daughters housing while she is away at college so she has a place to come home to for holidays and summers (he seems to forget she'll want to come home and need a place other than his couch to stay). I think since he won't be paying child support anymore, makes more money than me, plus has his new wife's income (she has no children and loves our daughter), don't you think they should have to pay more than 50% of the college costs? To me he should be responsible for 75% while I should be responsible for 25%. Plus, I will be doing all the leg work to apply for financial aid and any kind of scholarships which we'll qualify for because of my low income, shouldn't he have to pay more?</p>

<p>Thanks for any help you can provide!</p>

<p>I think you are lucky he's willing to pay half. My ex contributed -0-. </p>

<p>Most private colleges will consider his income and calculate aid eligibility accordingly, but will leave it to you to figure out who pays what. </p>

<p>Your best bet is to look for FAFSA-only colleges that don't take the ex's income into account for financial aid & colleges where your daughter is likely to get merit aid. </p>

<p>Also, if it is a financial burden, you are under no obligation to maintain your d's housing -- you could downsize to a smaller home or apartment. Your daughter can sleep on the couch or bunk with a sibling when she comes home to visit. She may not be coming home all that much anyway -- summer jobs & internships may require that she live elsewhere. It's nice that you want to keep the spot available for your daughter, but it's a pretty weak rationalization for allocation of college expenses.</p>

<p>I am a divorced Dad. Since your ex husband has double your income, even I, who am probably biased on the matter, do not think that requiring you to pay 50% is right. However, I agree with the previous post that you have chosen to live a more expensive lifestyle than your ex-husband. I also agree with the previous post that you are rationalizing keeping the house as a place for your daughter to stay. You could get a one or two bedroom apartment. Perhaps you can propose a 60-40 split. Tell your ex-husband that you got this advice from another ex-husband. I think that would be a fair compromise.
And rather than demanding he do it, perhaps you can just remind him that he is no longer paying child support, and perhaps he might be willing, from time to time, to pay for some of your daughter's extras at college.</p>

<p>You could even tell him, true or not, that you would sell the house and decrease your lifestyle, but that it wouldn't make sense to sell now, in this horrible real estate market.</p>

<p>65-35 max...</p>

<p>If he wants 50/50 then make him pay for her books, car, computer, food, etc. on top.
I was lucky enough to get financial aid and a loan for school and expenses so my mom only pays for the roof over my head. My dad thought a salvaged unaligned car that barely passed emissions was enough. Don't get me wrong, I have lots of family-son love for him but he shouldn't act as if he was having to pay his taxes toward us. Same should apply to ur D.</p>

<p>Deadsupra:</p>

<p>You might be shocked to learn that many kids go to college without any car at all.</p>

<p>Probably the majority of them.</p>

<p>You might also note that the money just to insure a car, even a clunker, is quite a lot.</p>

<p>I know some parents give their kids BMWs, but those parents are in my opinion ridiculous.</p>

<p>Be thankful for what was given to you.</p>

<p>Even if your father has the money to buy you a nicer car, it simply may be that he doesn't want to spoil you, like those kids who get BMWs, and think they are better than the poorer kids. </p>

<p>I wouldn't buy my kid, who has never worked a day in his life, a fancy car. </p>

<p>Doesn't mean I don't love him.</p>

<p>I drove around in a clunker well into my 30's. And after driving some fancy cars since, I am back to driving a clunker, because I no longer have a need to impress anyone. My brother, who is a multi-millionaire, does not drive around in a fancy new car either. His car is about 7 years old.</p>

<p>frankly, it doesn't matter what we think, it's what your ex will pay.</p>

<p>It sounds like you have younger kids as well, so you can't move to a small apt.</p>

<p>I guess I would try to negotiate with him....ask him to pay more or you'll go for more child support for the younger ones and/or insist that he take them more often (weekends and such).</p>

<p>In the meantime, look at schools that will give huge merit scholarships. I don't think FAFSA only schools will do much for you need-based-wise since it sounds like you have a good income. Those schools don't give a lot of aid (most of them), so you'd likely end up with only a loan from them.</p>

<p>Have you done an online EFC calculator to see what your estimated costs would be (ESTIMATED). You might want to do so. </p>

<p>In our state, the maximum that can be awarded in a divorce settlement is 1/2 of the cost of an instate public university. It sounds like your former husband is willing to pay more than that...if you are looking at private universities. Perhaps a discussion about college costs with him would be a good idea. He might be willing to contribute to some discretionary costs (books, travel, personal expenses, etc) in addition to 1/2 of the billable costs (the costs the university bills).</p>

<p>Another thing you can do is have your daughter look for some schools where she would receive merit aid guaranteed based on her stats. This would reduce the costs for both you and her father.</p>

<p>My situation is bit different because my daughter has scholarships that cover about 98% of her college costs (housing, tuition, books, board) and I do pay the rest. Her father, does not contribute to the cause mainly because there is really no cause to contribute too. But what he does do and I simply asked this of him via a polite email, is because he does not pay CS for her anymore (he does for my younger kids) he "pays" her directly each month the difference of what he did pay before she dropped off and now. It isn't a huge amount, most courts are on a 20% for one child, 25% for two and around 30% for three, so it amounted to the difference of 25% to 30% but it is enough that she has some money to go out and do a few things a buy a few extra things each month.</p>

<p>You may want to just shoot an email over, no emotion and ask. All he can do is say no. By having him make a deposit directly into her account for the child support difference, it would keep you from having to stream money to her and that should help the picture. When Dads are helping kids directly they seem to have less of an issue with it. Some Dads just think CS is supporting the ex and while maybe true in some cases, most often it really does go to the kids.</p>

<p>not sure about in your state, but in my home state of alabama, if you can show that your daughter has the propensity to attend college and do well, you can take your ex back to court prior to the child turning age 18 to have post-entitlement child support awarded until the child completes college. other than that i've been told that no parent can be made to be responsible for paying for college.</p>

<p>If it's amicable, why not sit down and talk with your ex? If the new wife loves your daughter, why not include her in and present it as the three people who love your daughter coming up with a plan for her education? Maybe work from the assumption that they actually want what's best for her?</p>

<p>I agree with zoosermom. You probably don't know all the details of their finances nor they of yours. Plus, someone may feel very strongly about whether she should work, take out loans, etc. Since you really don't know what you will be given in merit or financial aid, it might be worth it so say, "I'm worried about college costs. I can pay X a year. What can you contribute?"</p>

<p>Consider yourself lucky that he supports this at all, and that without the CSS Profile, only your finances are taken into account, since they only expect you to pay. Also, consider yourself lucky that your divorce wasn't a financial disaster like my mother's...also, my father isn't helping me pay...</p>