College expenses and life insurance

If those issues are in your signed separation agreement, then they are binding. You can file a breech of contract if he refuses, and you’ll have to go to court.

I think what you are thinking is if you did NOT have a signed agreement (lots of folks don’t) and you had to go to court to have these things ironed out in an order, the judge probably would NOT make the opposing party pay things like college, life insurance and so forth. They consider those items ‘non-necessary’ to the support of the child. College is a privilage…not a right…as is life insurance. Plus by that time, the child is usually over 18 and thus an ‘adult’.

It’s good that you DO have that. I didn’t not have that in my agreement, and while I HOPE that my ex will help pay for our children’s college, there is not way to make him. I plan on footing that bill myself.

Yes is it pointless to ask. You will end up spending more in court just to force the other parent to pay. Besides they are no longer children at 18, they are adults.
I guess there are some states that do order it. I don’t agree. Why should a parent be forced to pay college expenses for an adult? My parents did not pay my way and neither did my ex’s parents. We WORKED and took out loans for the rest. If a parent wants to help pay for the kids education, that should be their decision. No court should be able to force a parent to pay. The kids have to grow up sometime!

A.) College is a privilege, not a necessity. Most support deals with basic necessities to maintain current standard of living.

B.) How is “college” defined in the agreement? Are we talking Community College, State University, Harvard??..Cambridge or the Sorbonne???

C.) What do we mean by “expenses”? Tuition, tuition & books, or tuition, books, board, pocket money, etc.

“College expenses” is a very vague term and has different connotations to just about everyone. “College expenses” can run anywhere from under $1000 per semester to over $85k per year.

My understanding is that there are all sorts of variables and liabilities to writing this into an agreement. The least of which is that the children, in effect become 3rd party members to a settlement contract, which means each of them may sue and you may sue if you “feel” that it has been breached, opening up the payor to double (or more?) liability.

I’m a negotatior so I have no issue taking things out of the agreement. College is actually a small amount a month, basically the support he was giving to me, would go to the child to supplement their expenses. So when the age out, and support is adjusted down, his support would stay the same essentially, just be re-directed for school. We did our agreement mutually, no one twisted his arm to get it in there, he just did. We moved from up North where it is commonplace to have it in an agreement. In his talking to his friends, he realizes now that the state couldn’t mandate any of it. If he can get out of paying for something, he will. He’s counting down the days til the oldest turns 18 (I know this, he has made mention of it several times). When our middle child was having issues with her school work and in danger of failing, his answer to my request for help on that matter was, “your problem!” You know how I got him to help me make sure homework was done and complete on his days??? Reminded him that if she were to fail, she wouldn’t graduate high school until 19. Giving him one extra year of child support. Then and only then, did it become a priority for him.

I think college IS a necessity. He thinks it is as well as long as he doesn’t have to spend a dime on it. Yes kids should have to work for it. I have never not made my children work for something. I do think that you should help them out though if you are capable.

As for the life insurance, I am more than willing to take over the payment of that insurance policy until my youngest child reaches 18 but since he thinks he can have it taken out of the agreement now, he just wants it gone. “you’ll never see a dime of that money!” It’s not for me, it’s for the children and is enough to send all of them to college.

I’m not greedy. I’ve picked up his slack for years. Every six months his manic mind wants changes to our agreement. Every six months I give him pretty much whatever he wants because I refuse to fight with him, however I won’t be walked over either.

As long as the provision regarding college is specific enough to allow the court to interpret and enforce it then your ex will be forced to abide by the agreement.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

It is my understanding that it’s pointless to ask for college expenses and for the parent paying child support to have to maintain a life insurance policy in case of death in this state. I was told because it cannot be ordered by a judge.

If you have a separation agreement already in place and these things are in there. Such as an agreement to pay college expenses and an agreement to maintain insurance, how enforceable are these clauses really?

If I were to file a breach of contract on my ex, would he be liable for these expenses if they were in our agreement? He wants them removed in our latest rounds of negotiations. If they can’t be enforced, I won’t keep them but if they can, I would like to have negotiating power.