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Divorce and College Tuition Expenses for Children (Part 2)

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State University of New York (SUNY)

At this point in the discussion (refer to yesterday’s post for “Part 1” of this article), the attorney for one of the parties usually suggests the parents’ exposure for payment of college expenses should be limited to a “SUNY CAP”. The SUNY CAP is defined as either the cost of sending the children to one of the

SUNY schools or the cost of sending the children to the most expensive SUNY school.

The purpose for utilizing a SUNY CAP in divorce proceedings is to limit the potential expenses of a college education while allowing the children to attend a college in the SUNY system, which is considered one of the best state wide college education systems in the country.Using today’s costs, an education at a SUNY school costs approximately $18,000.00 a year, whereas an education at a private college, such as Syracuse University, would cost approximately $55,000.00 per year. As you can see, there is a large gap between the private university costs and the SUNY college tuition expenses. It should be noted this does not take into consideration scholarships, financial aid or loans that might be available to students attending a private university. These may bring the cost down considerably.

The SUNY CAP In Case Law

The SUNY CAP is used so often by divorce lawyers in settlement agreements that a questions arises as to whether this is a standard to be applied in divorces in New York. This question was answered by Supreme Court Justice Mathew F. Cooper, who sits in Manhattan Supreme Court, in the case of Pamela T. vs. Mark B. In this case, Judge Cooper stated “but there is one thing the SUNY system should not be. Contrary to what proponents of a wide and liberal application of the SUNY CAP might argue, the SUNY system should not be the assumed destination for a child of divorce.”

In the case before Judge Cooper, a child fought to go to Syracuse University. The parents were both lawyers who had been divorced in 2008. Both of the parents earn in excess of $100,000 a year. Judge Cooper’s decision stated the parents had
The court’s prior decision in the 2008 Judgment of Divorce did not deal with the issue of college expenses for the two children of the marriage. Judge Cooper ordered the father, Mark B., to pay 40% of the son’s college education at Syracuse, which was approximately $21,000 per year.The moral of this story is that the details of college education expenses for children should be laid out in a separation agreement or stipulation of settlement. This will eliminate future questions regarding college education responsibilities.

resources in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although the mother was willing to pay for half of the cost of sending one of her sons to Syracuse University, the father was not. He only wished to pay half of the expense to send his son to the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Fathers who come to our law office often claim that they are treated like second class citizens in the Family Court regarding child custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), orders of protection and issues involving child abuse and child neglect. They also relate to us that in divorce proceedings in the Supreme Court they are not treated fairly. Our law office represents fathers with regard to all types of proceedings in the Family Court and the Supreme Court. We aggressively protect fathers’ rights. We deal with difficult issues, such as downward modifications of child support, relocation problems, parental alienation cases and issues involving parental alienation syndrome. For more than 33 years, we have been recognized as one of the premier fathers’ rights law firms in the Metropolitan New York area. If you have matrimonial or family problems, we can help you. Call for a consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Hiring the Right Divorce Lawyer

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Divorces are very personal legal proceedings. You need a divorce lawyer who you have faith in, who is reliable and who you can trust. How do you decide that you have the right lawyer to represent you? Here are some suggestions:

1) Is your attorney familiar with the local court practices and procedures? Things are handled differently in different jurisdictions. The courts in New York City and Long Island differ on how they handle some aspects of matrimonial and family law issues. Is your attorney aware of these practices?

2) How do you feel about your lawyer? You should trust your instincts when you hire a lawyer. Are you comfortable with him or her? Is he or she dealing with your issues in a manner that makes you feel secure?

3) Does your attorney return your calls. Litigating divorce and family court issues can be aggravating and nerve racking. When you call your attorney, does he or she return your calls within 24 hours? Are your lawyers paying attention to your case?

Is Your Attorney Compassionate?

The law and the courts are cold. You may not always obtain the result you desire. Your lawyer should have compassion for your personal circumstances. You should be treated as a person with personal problems, not as a case file!

Professionalism and Interaction with Courts and other Attorneys

Your attorney should act in a professional, competent manner. He or she should do his or her best to deal with judges and opposing counsel. Sometimes antagonistic and difficult situations arise and your attorney must be very aggressive. Aggressive litigating may be necessary to get your point across. There are other times your attorney should be taking a negotiating posture to try and obtain the best possible result for you.

New York and Long Island Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

We represent fathers! We have been doing this for more than thirty years. We litigate all aspects of divorce, including child custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony)and equitable distribution of property. We also represent fathers with regard to proceedings in family court. We litigate issues involving paternity, downward modifications of child support, relocation problems, parental alienation cases and issues involving parental alienation syndrome. We also negotiate separation agreements for our clients. Feel free to call us for a free consultation.

Father Charged with Sexual Abuse Exonerated

Judge Greenberg, sitting in the Family Court of Nassau County, rendered a decision on January 21, 2010, dismissing child abuse proceedings against a father. The petition against the father alleged that he had committed sexual offenses regarding his daughter Isabella. The charges alleged he would rub lotion on her, “slap her butt” and “whistle at her.”

The father denied all of the allegations. There was testimony by a psychologist at the time of trial. The psychologist stated that Isabella admitted to lying and sometimes believing her own lies. The psychologist also stated that Isabella had difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality.

Sexual Abuse Allegations are Unsupported

Judge Greenberg found the Department of Social Services did not establish that the father had sexually abused his daughter. The court’s decision indicated that Isabella’s statements were motivated by her desire to live on Long Island. The child did not want to move to the father’s residence in Queens. Isabella’s testimony was inconsistent and not credible. The court believed the testimony was an effort to stop the father from being successful in his custody application.

New York Fathers’ Rights Attorney

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo litigates fathers’ rights issues. We have extensive experience in handling the following fathers’ rights related matters: divorce; orders of protection; child support; child custody; visitation; spousal maintenance (alimony); child abuse, child neglect; CPS and ACS proceedings; applications to reduce child support; child abuse defense hearings; paternity and no-fault divorce issues. We also litigation equitable distribution matters in divorces and grandparents’ rights issues. Feel free to call us for a free consultation.

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