My wife and I are on the verge of divorce. We have a kid who is a sophomore in college and a junior in high school. Our oldest, overcoming my opposition, joined a very expensive school and one of the biggest fights we faced was how to pay for it. My wife’s parents paid for all her education, but I paid for it in my own way. My wife wants to finance our home equity for both kids with college funding, but I can’t agree more. I do not want to work until I die – I want to retire someday, I can never see my house being paid for and not continuing to save for retirement. My wife says they should pay half even if they go to school and regardless of grade. Is there anything I can do about it or am I really stuck?
In Massachusetts, parents can be ordered to pay up to half of the cost of UMASS Amherst if they have no idea how to pay for college. For your children, that means you’re about $ 15,000 per child per year. Sure, it’s not a small number when you look at four years, but when you actually have to pay $ 30,000 you only have one year overlap. While it is always best to try to reach an agreement, understand that if there is no agreement, this is what the court will order you to pay.
Another thing that many parents agree on is that each parent pays one-third and the child one-third, based on one-third of college expenses. It seems that your wife will not be in that camp, but if you can afford to pay a third of the salary and manage a more expensive school within the next two years, that’s something to suggest. If a child has a horse in the race, they are often inclined to work harder and value education more.
Many parents agree to impose GPA controls on college funding. For example, if a child receives a GPA below a certain benchmark, the child should receive a loan to cover tuition and expenses for the next semester, and if they bring back the grades, you and your spouse will resume payment. However, considering what you said about your wife, she is unlikely to accept it, and I have never seen a judge order such terms.
If your wife wants to pay more, she’s definitely welcome to do so. Maybe if her parents were still alive and had the facilities to do so, they would be willing to help their grandchildren at the expense of what they did to their daughter – it would never hurt to ask.
At the end of the day, be courageous yourself, because your reluctance to pay too much will surely be shared by your wife with your children – hoping they are mature enough to understand your position.