College Tuition and 529 Plan- How are responsibilities divided when getting a divorce?

College Tuition and Fees

According to the college board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2010-2011 school year was $27,293 at private colleges, $7,605 for in state residents at public colleges and $19,595 for out of state residents attending public universities.  These numbers do not include room and board expenses.  In New York State, the cost of college is higher than the national average as is the cost of room and board.

Child Support and College Tuition After a Divorce

Typically, divorced parents agree to contribute towards the college expenses of their children in proportion to their incomes.  Generally speaking, contribution towards college expenses are limited by the courts to a SUNY “cap” and the non custodial parent gets a dollar for dollar credit against their child support obligation to the extent they contribute towards their child’s room and board expenses.  For example, if a non custodial parent’s share of college expenses amounts to $10,000 per year, $2,000 of which represents their contribution towards room and board, the non custodial parent will receive a $2,000 credit against their child support obligation.  The custodial parent may avoid this result by a carefully crafted separation agreement that contains a provision that specifically states that the non custodial parent will not be allowed to claim a dollar for dollar credit against theirchild support obligation to the extent they contribute towards their child’s room and board.   If you enjoy residential custody of your child, this clause would be of great benefit to you, particularly where your child is attending a private university whose tuition greatly exceeds the tuition of a SUNY school since the non custodial parent’s contribution is generally limited by the abovementioned SUNY “cap”.

To understand this better its always good to speak to a competent child custody and divorce lawyer so that you are fully aware of your unique situation. Call Michael A. Cohen at 516-280-6806.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Divorce In New York?

Going through a divorce can be a very emotional time in a person’s life, therefore, many people want to know what they should expect before initiating the divorce proceedings. One of the questions often posed by people considering initiating a divorce proceeding is, ‘how long does it take to get a divorce?’. If you are seeking a divorce in the state of New York, the length of time which it will take from the time the divorce proceedings are initiated until a final Judgment of Divorce is issued can vary depending on several factors.

One of the most significant factors which determines how long a divorce proceeding may take is whether it is an uncontested or a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is one where all of the terms of the divorce are agreed upon by you and your spouse, and it does not require going to court. An uncontested divorce usually takes anywhere from two to six months from the time the papers necessary to obtain a divorce are submitted to the Court, depending on the County in which you are obtaining the divorce.

Contested divorces can take significantly longer than uncontested divorces. In fact, contested divorces can take several years, depending on the issues involved and their complexity. A contested divorce is one where one or both spouses disagree as to equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, spousal maintenance, custody, child support and attorney’s fees. The matters in question in a contested divorce are resolved either by settlement or at a trial.

Assuming your divorce is “contested” and Court intervention is necessary, the Court will initially direct the parties to appear with their respective attorneys at a Preliminary Conference to advise the Court of the issues that have been resolved as well as the issues that remain in dispute. Depending on the nature of the issues that remain unresolved, the Court will set a schedule for financial disclosure, depositions, and appoint experts, if appropriate. The Court will set a discovery schedule which may range from 4 months to almost a year. To find out how long your divorce will take call Michael A Cohen at 516-280-6806.

No-Fault Divorce

It is important to note that as of October, 2010, the State of New York began to accept no-fault divorce filings along with the previous fault standard for divorce filings. This made it significantly easier to obtain a “No Fault” divorce, even if your spouse does not want a divorce. All that is required to obtain a “No Fault” divorce is for one party to allege that the marriage suffered an irretrievable breakdown and has been irretrievably broken for six months or more prior to filing for a divorce.