Long Island Judge Says Child Support Stipulation Does Not Cover Sorority Rush Costs
Unlike many other states, New York authorizes courts to include responsibility for higher education costs in a child support order. This might make sense to parents of students in or approaching college, where annual expenses for tuition, room, board and books can come close to $100,000 at some schools. Beyond those basics, there are other costs associated with the college experience. Recently, a New York court assessed how far a noncustodial parent’s agreement to help fund higher education costs extends.
In the past few years, the sorority rush process at many colleges has provided a great deal of content for online influencers and reality television shows. At some schools, dues, event expenses and money required to buy clothes that are just right for a particular house function add up to thousands of dollars. The question presented to a Nassau County Family Court judge in C.A.B. v. D.S.B. was whether those sorority costs should be counted within the “cost and expenses associated with [college education]” described in a divorced couple’s child support agreement.
After reviewing the facts and law, Judge Sondra Mendelson-Toscano sided with the father, holding that he was not responsible for paying 65 percent of the sorority rush costs. While “going Greek” can be a valuable part of the college experience, Judge Mendelson-Toscano noted that it was an optional, extracurricular activity, not covered under the college education expenses described in the child support agreement. While the father had been responsible for funding a share of the cost relating to his daughter’s outside interests during her childhood, this obligation expired when she graduated high school.
If you are a divorcing parent who is concerned about bearing the costs associated with Greek life or any other non-academic college activities, you can specifically address these expenses in your child support agreement. The best decision you can make is to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who helps parents pursue child support orders that clearly address any contingency that might arise down the road.
Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. is the Long Island divorce leader. Our firm has extensive experience negotiating and litigating complex child support matters that involve responsibility for significant expenses, including higher education, medical treatment and expensive extracurricular activities. Whether you expect a fairly straightforward child custody agreement or have numerous issues to address, please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to speak with a thorough New York family lawyer.