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Domestic Abuse

Is there case law for a divorced parent who can’t escape the college obligation due to estrangement resulting from abuse?

Q: Our 18 year old daughter is about to go to college, and my ex doesn’t want to split the college expense. In our divorce agreement it states that child support should not represent a credit toward the college obligation. (My spouse had custody then but not now.) The complicating factor is that our daughter has been abused by my ex — involving police called by neighbors, supporting orders of protection — both temporary and full, witnesses to older sister being physically abused, etc. In the OTSC my ex just submitted pro se, many ‘reasons’ are included: inability to afford it, prior lawyer gave bad advice, etc. But the only one I’m concerned about is estrangement. There must be some sort of precedent where estrangement is attempted but denied due to abuse.

A: David’s Answer: So is your ex arguing s/he should have to pay for college because the child is emancipated by virtue of her refusal of contact? If so, there is indeed a plethora of caselaw governing the issue. You’re best advised, however, to schedule a consult with a Westchester Child Support attorney for a full assessment.

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