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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Father Can Not Avoid Obligation to Pay College Expenses by Ignoring Written Communications

Father Can Not Avoid Obligation to Pay College Expenses by Ignoring Written Communications


In Heinlein v Kuzemka, --- N.Y.S.2d ----, 2008 WL 660010 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.) the parties agreed to contribute to the children's college expenses, provided that their then-financial circumstances permitted them to do so and that both parents "approve of the educational institution, course of study and living arrangements." The father sought relief from this obligation, asserting that since the mother did not consult him regarding his son's attendance at RPI, he did not approve of that school or any of the child's college-related expenses. The Appellate Division found that his protests were unavailing since, while aware of the child's aspirations to attend RPI, he failed to make any inquiries of the mother and consistently declined to accept registered mail sent by her. Moreover, once the father became aware that his son was attending RPI, he took no action to object to the choice of school or apply to be relieved of his obligations, thus signifying his acquiescence and implicit approval of the decision. The Appellate Division held that the father could not avoid his contractual obligations to pay his son's college expenses, which were imposed by separation agreement that was incorporated, but not merged, into divorce degree, by ignoring the mother's written communications and remaining silent in the face of his admitted knowledge that his son was attending college.

In Absence of Other Evidence Plaintiff's Valuation Should have been adopted by the court.

In Absence of Other Evidence Value of Vehicle in Net Worth Statement Should Have be Adopted by Court


In Winter v Winter, --- N.Y.S.2d ----, 2008 WL 1722288 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept.) Supreme Court set spousal maintenance, child support and defendant husband's share of add-on child expenses, allocated marital property and assets subject to certain credits including accounting for wasteful dissipation, denied defendant credit for pendente lite mortgage payments on the marital residence, and ordered defendant to pay 40% of plaintiff's legal fees. The Appellate Division modified, to reduce defendant's obligation with respect to plaintiff's legal fees to 30%, and to reduce the value assigned to the parties' Jeep Cherokee from $15,000 to $11,000. The Appellate Division found that in determining the value of the Jeep Cherokee, the court used the vehicle's 2004 purchase price of $15,000. In her September 30, 2005 net worth statement, plaintiff valued that asset at $11,000. In the absence of any other evidence as to the vehicle's worth, plaintiff's valuation should have been adopted by the court.