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Woke Up To A Very Upsetting Email From My Ex Husband


aloneandunhappy

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My ex husband and his wife completely shut me out of my 17 year old son's life. Although we have joint custody and I pay child support (long story) I don't get to see my son a lot. Mostly because he is very busy with school, studying, working these days so that is ok. When he was younger his father and step mother would not include me in any thing. the only time I heard from them is when they needed more money than the child support.

Well this morning i received an email demanding thousands of dollars for my son's college tuition. I explained that if they had involved me from the planning stages perhaps I could have started saving and that the 3 of us should have had a discussion on what we could afford and how it would be paid for, but for them to just all of a sudden tell me I have to pony up $xxxx is completely out of line. He says they never included me in any of the discussions because it would have "muddied the waters". To boot, I am in treatment for cancer, recently got divorced, I have no assets or collateral (home/car) I can take a loan against for my son's tuition. I work two jobs and I'm living paycheck to paycheck to survive.

His email has made me feel like absolute crap about myself, which was exactly his goal. He is threatening to take me to court which I'm not too scared of because I know you can't get blood from a stone, but it is worrying nonethelesss. I've been in bed all day crying. Please help. Anyone with a response to make me feel like I am not a loser.

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My mom guilt tripped my aunt to help me with living expenses during college. It was wrong of her to do and since I found the printed out email of it after she had passed away I can't asked her. She probably just wanted me to get help that she could not provide. Regardless, it is a pretty mean thing to do. College is expensive and if your son has a brain he will understand that he can't expect help from someone who does not have much money to their name. If he is mad at you for it, then that is on his shoulders and not yours. My student loans were all in my own name. My mother could not take out a loan because she could not afford to and I knew that. Tons of people put themselves through college. If he really wants to go then he needs to do what he needs to do.

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Your ex-husband sounds like a real a******.

As you said, you don't just pony up for college tuition, that's obviously something you save for and if he cared about that he would have discussed it with you far in advance. And are you sure this is even something you have to legally oblige? I don't think most states go for that.

Even if he could take you to court, it'd probably make him look bad given all you said. I would treat this as a matter between you and him; it seems that he's trying to engage some feelings of guilt on your part concerning not being able to help your son financially, but you shouldn't look at it that way.

Edited by hystericalanduseless
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As a divorced (and now re-married) dad, perhaps I can help you calm down a bit, and turn the tables on your ex. Paying for college is typically governed by what your Marital Settlement Agreement states. Did you ever finalize one of those? If you did, dig it up and see if there is anything in it regarding college tuition.

For example, my agreement states that both mom and dad (me) are expected to contribute to college costs, in proportion to our relative incomes. BUT only AFTER exhausting all other avenues of funding such as Financial Aid, low-cost student loans, scholarships, and so forth. It is very general about college. It does not spell out any specific formula or amount.

I read up a lot on this stuff during my divorce, because knowledge is power. Paying for college, or specifically forcing the non-custodial parent to pay is a legal gray area at best. It is rarely a hard-and-fast obligation the way Child Support is. If there is nothing specific listed in the Marital Settlement Agreement, the judge will look at other things. He/she will examine both sides of the family history. In terms of whether parents and grandparents went to college. He/she would then carefully consider current factors, like finances, ability to pay, debt, expenses, etc.

Based on what you have said about your finances and medical situation, your ex has literally zero chance of extorting even a penny out of you. If he does file what is known as a "motion" in court, please go confidently and be ready to be entertained: your ex will likely get a stern tongue-lashing by the judge, and will then be forced by the judge to cover your legal fees.

The most optimistic and heartwarming part of this story is that your son GETS IT. THAT is the important part. As long as your relationship with your son is intact, and your son is smart enough to understand how impossible it is for Mom to cover his tuition....everything else is easily solved.

Try not to get into long e-mail exchanges with your ex. You do not owe him any further explanations than what you have already told him. Let him blab and threaten: they are empty threats. Save all e-mail correspondence. If he continues to pester you, see if you can get a lawyer to mail him a letter on legal letterhead. The lawyer will know what to put in it. It may cost you a one-time fee of two hundred bucks, but it will show your ex that you are not going to just be a victim of his extortion. And that you are not powerless. He may well get cold feet after that and leave you alone.

You are not a loser, the loser will be your ex if he is stupid enough to file a motion. In the meantime, savor and enjoy the fact that your son GETS IT. And that your ex is unable to negatively influence your relationship with your son.

Edited by StanF23
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Your ex-husband sounds like a real a******.

As you said, you don't just pony up for college tuition, that's obviously something you save for and if he cared about that he would have discussed it with you far in advance. And are you sure this is even something you have to legally oblige? I don't think most states go for that.

Even if he could take you to court, it'd probably make him look bad given all you said. I would treat this as a matter between you and him; it seems that he's trying to engage some feelings of guilt on your part concerning not being able to help your son financially, but you shouldn't look at it that way.

You are 100% right. He knows he is engaging feelings of guilt in me.

There is one vague sentence in our divorce agreement (15 years old now) where it states we are both responsible for our son's college education. My ex husband states that he cannot afford tuition either but we are "obligated" to send our son to college. Says who? My parents didn't feel obligated to send me to college. They couldn't. I didn't expect them to with six kids. My ex husband's parents didn't feel obligated to send him to college either.

If my ex husband says he can't afford it and I can't afford it either then my question is why must we incur tons of debt? If my ex feels obligated/wants to take on debt, then let him. He has collateral for a loan. I do not. I'm still paying medical bills for cancer treatment.

He also tells me our son shouldn't have to pay for my "poor choices" (my most recent husband divorcing me when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, my not saving/having any money to send our son to college, my not owning a home).

II will not be bullied into doing what my son's father wants. And yes, he is a real a**********. If I were his current wife, I would beat him over the head for shaking down his ex-wife with cancer for money. I've paid child support for 15 years without missing a payment. I don't feel I'm "obligated" to do anything further. If I can, great, but to tell me I have an obligation??? Grrrrrrrr........

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I cannot thank you enough StanF23. I feel so much better after reading your post.

You are very welcome. Glad I could help. The vague language in your divorce agreement regarding college tuition just confirms what I stated before. This is not a firm obligation of any kind. It is simply a "formality", that was thrown in as a place-marker of sorts. It is not a financial rule set in stone. The onus would be on your ex to try and convince a reluctant judge that you are actually in a position to make it happen. Assuming that your ex even follows through on his threat and files a motion.

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. You may wish to empower yourself and have a lawyer send a cerified letter, just to show you are not going to be a pushover. But you are on solid footing even without it. Just go about the rest of your life and do not dwell on this. Be confident, you will take the needed steps at whatever time events unfold. It requires zero worry and zero energy in advance.

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