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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 99417
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My daughter just started college in August. It is in our Stipulation

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My daughter just started college in August. It is in our Stipulation that my former husband continue support until she is 21 years old. It is also stipulated that we both help defray her college costs in any way that we can afford to do so. I have recently moved to be closer to her and have not yet been able to secure a fulltime job (it's been 2 mos). However, I have made small payments to her bill. He has now threatened to stop all support immediately so that the support money can go into an account to help pay for her college costs. Isn't he in Violation? If so, which court do I file the petition in? Is it the state where the divorce was granted or the state where I am now living? Thank you.
Hello, my name is Ely. I am here to help you. There may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies as I type out a reply. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not to tell you what you necessarily wish to hear.

I am sorry for your situation. Does the stipulation say how much each party is supposed to cover? Or does it generally state that each of you will "help defray" some costs, but does not say how much/what percentage/etc?

Finally, what state was the divorce in, what state are you in now, what state is the child in, and what state is the ex in? Did the child visit the ex for visitation under the custody order in their separate state?

This not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. I look forward to helping you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

  1. Thank you for your prompt reply.

  2. The Stipulation does not set any dollar amount only that each party will help based on their economic situation.

  3. We were divorced in NYS. I now reside in NC. My daughter attends college in SC

  4. We both remained in NYS as per stipulation until she graduated from high school. Yes, she saw her father for visitation when she was able and time permitted. They have an ongoing relationship.

Is the father still in NYS? Did she visit him in NYS during visitation? I am asking this for jurisdictional purposes.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, the father resides in NYS. She is flying to NY to visit him next weekend for the first time since starting college in August.

Thank you, Lois.

Isn't he in Violation? If so, which court do I file the petition in? Is it the state where the divorce was granted or the state where I am now living? Thank you.

Because the divorce decree does not state how much is to be paid, then this is not a violation if you have not stopped payment but have simply decreased it to what was reasonably possible. So you are not in violation per se. Threatening for him to stop in itself is not a violation; doing so is.

Assuming that he stops, then this would be a violation indeed. According to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act, the jurisdiction stays with the state wherein the matter was adjudicated. If the child relocates to another state, then the matter moves to that new state if the child loses all ties to the original state. Here, she was visiting NY, but now she is older, so the jurisdiction is somewhat unclear because the matter is very subjective and this situation falls "between the cracks." Given the unique situation, I would say that NY still holds jurisdiction.

If so, then contempt may be filed in the original court, and contempt carries with it admonishment, fines, order to pay for your legal fees in bringing the motion, and/or imprisonment (for brazen, malicious, or continuous contempt). You can see a "do it yourself" kit here:

Finally, it may be a good idea to file a Motion for Clarification in conjunction with the motion for contempt (often, the clarification is simply asked in a clause in the contempt motion) or if not filing a contempt, then simply by itself, to have the Court espouse as to what specifically has to be paid to avoid this matter in the future.

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