Friday, October 18, 2013

Parents do not have to pay for college

In most, but not all, states, parents have no obligation to pay for college tuition. Private colleges make their own rules about who pays. Nevertheless, some states have given family court judges the power to order divorced parents to pay for college.

The Alabama court has just reversed some of its earlier foolishness:
The Alabama Supreme Court today overturned a 1989 decision requiring noncustodial parents to help pay college expenses for children 19 and older.

In a 6-2 decision, the court ruled that the 1989 decision “failed to recognize the ordinary and common-law definitions of ‘child’ as a minor,” which the Legislature has defined in Alabama as under 19. ...

The decision came in a case originating in Limestone County in 2010. A divorced father asked the trial court to order his ex-wife to help pay college expenses for their son, who was about to turn 19. After a trial, the court ordered the ex-wife to pay 25 percent of the son's college costs. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals upheld the decision. But today's decision reversed the ruling of the Court of Civil Appeals and sent the case back to that court. ...

The chief justice wrote that the 1989 decision violated the separation-of-powers doctrine and the fundamental rights of parents.
Here is the pdf decision. The maority opinion was written by Judge Roy Moore, who was previously kicked off the Alabama supreme court for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from hte courthouse. I did not realize that he somehow got back on the court. I guess it makes sense that someone like that would stick up for parental rights, against some judge's opinion of the BIOTCh.

3 comments:

lisa said...

Judge Moore got re-elected.

Note that more than 95% of divorces end in a settlement, often due to pressure over legal costs or fear of what a judgement will say. ALL of those settlements are binding in regards to college costs, because they are agreed upon by the parties and not ordered by the court.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, How funny! How normal.

for 21 years, they forced men to pay for the costs of adult children, with all the weight of the child support system, including jail for unemployment.

Then, they have one dearie who is getting nailed by an obviously unconstitutional law, and they turn it over. Hahaha.

Anonymous age 71

Anonymous said...

Let me add that even when they force men to pay child support for offspring who are not children, some courts have ruled the recipient of that support may not be forced to use the money to pay for college expenses.

In the 80's, there was a case where a young person was emancipated, which meant the mother no longer was responsible for her care. But the man was still ordered to keep paying support. In that case, I think eventually a state high court did let him off the hook, but what was wrong with the district court?

The argument given for ordering men to pay support for capable adults was, well, most parents help the kids with college, so the bums gotta' do it, too. But, putting something under the slave system of child support that is still an option for most married parents is just plain wrong.

Anonymous age 71