Access to tutiion contract for non-custodial parent? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-17-2011, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dh and I live in another state that my ex. I have a parenting plan and child support set up. Ex gets to use SSI to offset the amount he pays in CS leaving only around $200/mo out of pocket for him. I have no problem with this. I do not ask for additional money for activities, tutoring etc.. The only time I do expect money is when it is a medical expense per the CS plan. I expect him to pay when the item is due. The fact that my parents pay for many things for my current family infuriates ex. He feels he should have CS offset by the fact that my parents give me money or at the very least not be expected to send payments right away because I'm not hurting for money.

 

Anyway, my parents pay for dds school. She attends a very expensive private school. Recently dd had some private testing done for OCD/ADHD/Sensory processing, that ex and I both agreed on. He was to pay half and I needed to pay on the day of testing. Apparently, he called dds school and asked to have the tutition contract sent to him. The contract has my parents credit card information. I know that he is allowed access to dds school records and what not, but is he allowed access to a contract that is between my parents and the school? At the very least I would think that he would need to request that information through me or a legal venue so that the credit information could be blocked. I should add that I have the right to choose schools per parenting agreement. He now has the contract and just loves to point out that we must not be hurting for money because my parents pay for her school and he said that if he requests airplane receipts he's sure they're paying that too. I'm also concerned he may have asked for dsds contract. Who knows, but I want to contact the school to ask. I don't want to give them incorrect information. If he is allowed access to that information I need to know or if not I need to make sure the school is aware and I will get legal documentation to support it if that is the case.

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#2 of 14 Old 03-17-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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I would assume since it is your daughter's tuition contract, he would have a right to see it, but the credit card info shouldn't be on it! I'm not sure WHY he needs it....he should just be glad your parents are so incredibly generous and your dd gets access to an excellent private education without him paying for it!


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#3 of 14 Old 03-17-2011, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's the problem..lol. He doesn't need the contract. He knows what the tuition is, he just wanted to know who was paying it! He could have asked. Dh and I have 4 children and he is always concerned about where "his" money is going. Dh is a doctor and pays more for dsd than ex did and ever will.

 

I agree that he should be happy for his daughter, unfortunately, he never was and never will be. He likes to be in control. He didn't like my parents buying clothes and such for her when we were married or setting up investment accounts. They had to because he was spending all our money on specialty pens and other toys for himself. It bugs him that he doesn't get to benefit from my parents anymore. It has been years since we were divorced, but he still tells dd how much he loves me and wants to be with me. 

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#4 of 14 Old 03-18-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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(this is not legal advice)

 

I think, since it's a school document, he's entitled to it regardless of who pays. Presumably, there are other terms and conditions that affect your child. Do you think he may be lawyering up for a child support or custody review? The lawyer would want to see the document for himself/herself even if the tuition about was known.

 

But he isn't entitled to personal things like credit card numbers that don't belong to him, or social security numbers (except for your daughter). If the school gave out the contract, it should have redacted the numbers; if they haven't given the contract out, I'd give them a call.


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#5 of 14 Old 03-19-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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This is a tough call.  I do not think that a tuition contract is part of your child's educational records that he would be entitled to a copy of, especially since the contract is a binding document between your parents and the school.  

 

I would contact the school and request that they only provide things related to your child's education, and not finances (since those are between the school and your parents).

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#6 of 14 Old 03-20-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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Can you ask the school for a Blank contract?    


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#7 of 14 Old 03-20-2011, 06:21 AM
 
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I have a similar tuition contract. The contract was set up in my name. I am therefore the only person entitled to information on this contract. My parents actually help me pay for it, but they are not part of the contract.

 

No other person, is entitled to view this contract. 

 

I am not a lawyer (although i did study contract law once), but it seems that a contract is between the two parties, and some other random person,even if that person is the parent of  the child being paid for, is irrelevant to the contract and has no rights whatsoever to anything concerning the contract.

 

Are you on the contract yourself? Can you ring them to complain? If not, your parents have that right.

 

The contract is none of his business.

 

Also, as the father, he has financial responsibilities to his children, as far as he can afford them. Your parents helping you is not part of the equation and none of his business either.

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#8 of 14 Old 03-20-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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In some states, it CAN be considered in child support calculation when one parent is getting a significant amount of their living expenses paid for by a third party (for example, living rent-free in a parent's guest house). It's not that they are taking someone else's $$ into consideration, rather that they are acknowledging that one parent might not the same deduction in the calculation for typical living expenses if they aren't actually paying those living expenses. I would see that being the case in your situation only if the cost of tuition were factored into the child support calculation. And, obviously, only in a state that calculates child support in that way.


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#9 of 14 Old 03-21-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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I don't have time to read other responses, so I apologize if mine is repetitive.

 

Schools have a lot of discretion, in how they handle things with divorced parents.  I have heard of/experienced cases where school employees refused to follow court orders, because they were siding with one parent, or because the orders conflict with the school's standard policy; AND cases like yours, where school employees were all too cooperative, when perhaps they should have waited to act, until they received direction from a judge.  In either case, people who are trained to educate children - not to interpret legal nuances - are being asked to do the latter.  And they're not really accountable.  If either parent is displeased with how the school handled something, their legal recourse is usually to take the other parent to court and argue that what he/she asked of the school was improper.  Usually, you're not going to get far, complaining to anyone about the school employees themselves.

 

If it's obvious from the info. on the tuition contract that the credit card/bank account providing tuition does not belong to your ex; and if it's common knowledge that you and your ex are divorced; then it would have been more appropriate for the school to redact that information before giving your ex a copy of the contract.  He should have the right to see any papers relevant to his child's education, regardless who's entitled to choose the school - especially if those papers verify how much is paid for her tuition.  But obviously he has no right to know your parents' credit card or bank account number, nor could he provide any plausible argument for why he needs that.

 

But that info. was carelessly given to him and can't be taken back.  Unless you're worried that he'll try to fraudulently charge his next ski trip to your parents (if he does, you might consider suing the school!), then you need to let it go.  He sounds petty and bitter.  I know that's annoying.  I also know it can make you feel threatened, just knowing someone's looking for any reason to take you back to court and try to change things in your life you've come to rely on.  But you're not married to your parents and they have no financial obligation to your daughter.  Unless you work for them and you're concealing your income from Family Court, they're allowed to give you gifts, like paying for your daughter to attend a better school than you could afford; or covering your ex's share of her medical bills when he's late paying it.  That shouldn't affect how much he pays in C/S, even if he wishes it did.

 

The only problem would be if you receive "credit" for tuition and/or plane tickets that you don't actually pay for.  In other words, if his complaint is basically, "Her parents do so much to support the child I fathered, that I shouldn't have to contribute anything," then everyone - including your judge - will see him for what he is and dismiss his arguments.  But it might get more complicated if his complaint were: "My annual earnings are so small that it's hard enough supporting myself.  Anything I pay in C/S is a hardship.  Even though RN2Bmommy earns almost double what I do, when the court calculated C/S, it plugged in equal incomes for us, because she reported spending half her income on tuition and our child's plane tix to visit me.  But her parents pay for those things and she's never actually spent a cent of her income on them.  So, I want the court to recalculate."  

 

If you did get credit for paying for things your parents actually pay for, I'm not judging you.  But, now you need to pay attention to how you will look in court, if your ex takes you back.  If you behave as though you're desperate to keep your ex from finding out what your parents pay for, it will look like you're cognizant of doing something wrong, that you feel the need to hide.  It's better if you can truthfully say, "I reported my income honestly.  I reported my daughter's expenses honestly.  At no point have I tried to misrepresent or conceal anything from my ex.  I just honestly did not think that help from my parents was relevant to my financial declaration."     

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#10 of 14 Old 03-22-2011, 07:26 AM
 
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"The fact that my parents pay for many things for my current family infuriates ex."

 

He shouldn't know a damn thing about any of that. Who's talking to him about this stuff? Living in another state, why would he even be aware of where your children from your second marriage go to school? You need to set some boundaries around your family's affairs.

 

Come up with some legally correct, easily understandable one-liner and use it every time a phone conversation strays into inappropriate territory: "Our support agreement obliges you to pay your share of this expense, Y dollars, within X days. It's not negotiable." Click. You might follow up with a certified letter. You might copy said letter to a lawyer. You don't want to go back court over this nonsense, obviously, but you want to change the dynamic where he's on the phone (or on email) with you harassing you for permission to violate the support order. You need to establish that you're not available for that kind of game, and that a frosty one-liner, a handful of dead air, and a mildly threatening letter is all he'll ever get out of an attempt to duck his CS responsibilities.. 

 

As to the school, I'd approach them in sorrow rather than anger, and stick to the CC-info issue: "this is sensitive personal information, and we have concerns about identity theft." Then perhaps you can sit down with the adminstrator or principal and come up with a list of specific documents that DO get released to the NCP upon request, and put a note in you children's files about it. 

 

If he asks for airplane receipts, and you are for some reason obliged to provide them, obviously you'd use a Sharpie and redact the CC information regardless of who bought the tickets! But if the support agreement doesn't explicitly say that you cover all costs of transportation and that cost is factored into your support award, then he has no reason to request a receipt and you have no reason to provide one. 

 

In point of fact, if your agreement doesn't specify who covers transportation costs, STOP COVERING THEM. Outline your DD's school schedule and tell him to buy a ticket if he'd like to have visitation. Don't hand out extras to somebody who's giving you grief about their (minimal!!!) role in providing for your child. 

 

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#11 of 14 Old 03-24-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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It's different in every state, but I could see this coming up in the financial disclosures you're required to provide to the court and to your ex when deciding support and custody. Expenses paid on your behalf (especially for one of the big life issues, like education, health care, religion, housing) need to be disclosed in some states.

 

I actually remember my own divorce (Wisconsin, no fault, no kids)--by the time we filled out our financial disclosures, my now-ex was living with a new woman and her two children, and he had to disclose that, as well as any funds he paid on their behalf or they paid on his behalf. As we didn't have child support to worry about (and we both weren't seeking spousal support), the financial disclosure was more of an academic exercise than anything (though the judge did review it to make sure nobody was going to wind up destitute and thus on state aid for lack of spousal support), but still.

 

If, when my husband wins election (hopefully) and thus has a change in child support (the position is full-time and well paid), and the court won't accept the stipulation (his ex has received state benefits in the past, so the court has to have the approval of the state child support agency to change a support order even if both parties agree), he may need to file a new financial disclosure, which would include all of our household income (including mine, though it doesn't count toward child support) and expenses, including health care and child care costs for me and our son. He doesn't need to go into detail--doctor's and day care names, diagnoses, billing information doesn't need to be disclosed, though it's possible if the judge thinks the expenses are out of whack, he can ask for documentation (which, then, private information could be redacted--and, if the court felt that certain private information was actually necessary, we could petition to keep it away from the ex or out of the public record--which, right now, there's nothing there I'd care if she saw but anyway).

 

So yeah, it can come out legitimately (depending on where you live). Still--get the letter of the law and get your school to stick to it.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

"The fact that my parents pay for many things for my current family infuriates ex."

 

He shouldn't know a damn thing about any of that. Who's talking to him about this stuff? Living in another state, why would he even be aware of where your children from your second marriage go to school? You need to set some boundaries around your family's affairs.


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#12 of 14 Old 04-02-2011, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just a few clarifications :). Child support calculations were originally based on my ex's disability income and my income at the time. It included each of us paying our share 70/30 of expenses including daycare, travel and medical that exceeds a certain monthly amount. The amount I agreed to was less than what would have been accurate because I wanted to be free of ex at the time and new that my parents would continue to help me in any way they could.

 

Ex knows my parents pay for things because they pretty much paid for everything when ex and I were married. Ex spent all our money on toys for himself so my parents paid for clothing and activities and trips for us. They also gave us the down payment for our house. Which ex at the time ended up taking out second mortgages on so we had nothing left on the house when we sold it during the divorce.

 

I have not worked for at least four years. I went to nursing school, graduated and had another child with current dh. I am now a SAHM. We are fine financially, but my parents still help with all the extra things for dd even though we do not need them to. It is what they choose to do in addition to gifting us money. We do not claim anything on our taxes for tutiton. My parents pay the school directly so that is not counted as taxable to us. Per the parenting plan I get to claim dd every other year. 

 

I honestly do not care if ex knows that my parents are paying. I don't think he plans on bringing me to court. He just feels like he shouldn't have to pay as much child support because my parents give me money. Even if my parents didn't give us money my dh would pay for what they send us. It is just annoying dealling with ex. 

 

I should also add that I am not really angry with the school, more annoyed! I love the teachers and all the staff there. They really are wonderful. I'm sure this was an oversight on their part. As far as tuition amount, it is readily available on the school website. It is no secret. Ex is alwasy making comments about how his money better not be going towards dsd's tutition. The reality is that the money he sends doesn't even cover the cost of dd's. Dh pays for dsd's tuition in addition to covering the costs for dd's camps,activities, clothes and birthdays etc. Ex's disability is not small by any means either. It is three figures. He just has never had to help pay for anyone other than himself. He sends $250 a month out of pocket a month. The rest comes from SSI for dd.

 

 

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#13 of 14 Old 04-03-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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If you're not worried about being taken back to court, then I think you've just got a boundary issue. Since it's gone beyond annoying b.s. on the phone and extended to requesting documents from third parties, a chat with the school probably is in order. But I'm glad you're not super-ticked-off about it, because you're probably right and it was just an oversight. They do need to be aware of the situation a little bit more, so that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. Your ex is not involved with the financial side of school, period.

 

When you listen to your ex make inappropriate comments/inquiries/guesses about your household finances, then he wins. Master the art of the hang-up, and he'll eventually get tired of talking to dead air. The idea that any NCP paying $250/month plus some money out of his government check would think he's being taking advantage of boggles my mind. But getting into a fight about it gets you nowhere. You have to draw the line and disengage, or you're never going to get the freedom that you were after when you agreed to this low support payment. 

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#14 of 14 Old 04-05-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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in future perhaps suggest to the school that the credit card numbers that are either yours or your parents, be blacked out on the copy sent to him. that is our policy when dealing with similar financial issues with our exbm. and she does the same when sending us documents.

i would think that your parents could hold the school liable for giving out your parents cc number to anyone at all. that should be confidential information and could easily be blacked out on any documents that your ex has a right to see.   i would check that out with a lawyer. while your ex may have scruples there are people out there who would take those numbers and do heaven knows what with them, especially online, or having known your parents having a good idea of what their pins would be or what not.

 

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