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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 17509
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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DIVORCE LAWMy brother married a woman, had a child and

Customer Question

DIVORCE LAW
My brother married a woman, had a child and divorced because she was in the navy, went out to sea and came home with another man's baby...I know, sounds like a country and western song. Anyway, they divorced about 10 years ago and had one child from that marriage. The child went to live with my brother when he was 18 so he could go to college. My brother did not have the money and I asked if he had asked his ex wife for help, he said she wouldn't help. So I said I would pay. My Brother died in 2013 and my nephew is now graduating from college. When I received my brother's belonging, it was documented in the divorce decree that they each split the childs college educational expenses. She said they talked about it and made another agreement. My brother never told me otherwise. Now my nephew is wanting to continue on to get a Master's Degree but does not have the money to do so. Is his mother responsible for paying for his education since the divorce agreement did not state whether it was a 4 year degree, a masters, a Ph.d, etc? And can I sue her to get my money back since I now know it was in the divorce agreement that she was legally bound to pay 1/2 of his college tuition and expenses. She cannot provide me any paperwork that indicates there was a written agreement that amended the divorce decree so it's basically word of mouth on her part...my brother is deceased so its really just hearsay? Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello: This is PhillipsEsq. I am a licensed Attorney and I will be assisting you today.
My brother married a woman, had a child and divorced because she was in the navy, went out to sea and came home with another man's baby...I know, sounds like a country and western song. Anyway, they divorced about 10 years ago and had one child from that marriage. The child went to live with my brother when he was 18 so he could go to college. My brother did not have the money and I asked if he had asked his ex wife for help, he said she wouldn't help. So I said I would pay. My Brother died in 2013 and my nephew is now graduating from college. When I received my brother's belonging, it was documented in the divorce decree that they each split the childs college educational expenses. She said they talked about it and made another agreement. My brother never told me otherwise.
Response 1:My deepest sympathies for your loss.
Their side agreement does not count. What counts is the Court Decree and any amendment of the Court Decree by the Court. She is responsible for part of the undergraduate education expenses. However, you do not have legal standing to sue her if you are not the Executor of your brother's estate. You brother could have sued her to enforce the Court Decree. After his death, the person appointed by the Court to be the Executor of his Estate (if his estate was probated) should have stepped in his shoes to sue the ex-wife. If there is no Executor of the Estate, then your nephew can sue his mother for her share of his college expenses—undergraduate education.
Now my nephew is wanting to continue on to get a Master's Degree but does not have the money to do so. Is his mother responsible for paying for his education since the divorce agreement did not state whether it was a 4 year degree, a masters, a Ph.d, etc?
Response 2: It is quite unlikely. Generally, college expenses mean expenses through the first degree and not any graduate study. However, he can sue his mother for part of his undergraduate expenses.
And can I sue her to get my money back since I now know it was in the divorce agreement that she was legally bound to pay 1/2 of his college tuition and expenses. She cannot provide me any paperwork that indicates there was a written agreement that amended the divorce decree so it's basically word of mouth on her part...my brother is deceased so its really just hearsay? Please help.
Response 3: See my first response. Side agreement does not count. What counts is the Court Decree. If you are your nephew's legal guardian, you can sue his mother on his behalf for the undergraduate expenses that she never paid.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My brother per se did not have any assets so to speak and that is why I paid for the education. My brother and I were orphans and so everything that was necessary to be signed he signed. So does this mean that I can sue her for her 1/2 of his undergraduate student tuition since she did not comply with the divorce decree. The son was already 18 years old so no, I was no his guardian...he was an adult. There is no side agreement or paperwork, only her excuses that she and my brother talked. I just found the divorce paper. I would not have paid her portion of my nephews decree had I know about the divorce arrangement. My brother was sick unknowingly and just 5 months before he died, he climbed Mt. Whitney. Cancer ate out all of his backbones then went through the arteries and to the lung which is the normal trail for this type of cancer. Since I just found out about the divorce agreement and wasn't aware that she had a legal responsibility, why can't I sue her for not keeping her legal duty to the divorce agreement. The boy will not sue his mother and will not talk to me because I suggested that she should regardless pay for his education because she is his mother and she broke up the family by what I think is illegal in North Carolina by having another man's child while married. She's trash, but she has a nice home, a good income and could have afforded to contributed to his tuition and expenses. Any other idea's?

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
My brother per se did not have any assets so to speak and that is why I paid for the education. My brother and I were orphans and so everything that was necessary to be signed he signed. So does this mean that I can sue her for her 1/2 of his undergraduate student tuition since she did not comply with the divorce decree. The son was already 18 years old so no, I was no his guardian...he was an adult. There is no side agreement or paperwork, only her excuses that she and my brother talked. I just found the divorce paper. I would not have paid her portion of my nephews decree had I know about the divorce arrangement. My brother was sick unknowingly and just 5 months before he died, he climbed Mt. Whitney. Cancer ate out all of his backbones then went through the arteries and to the lung which is the normal trail for this type of cancer. Since I just found out about the divorce agreement and wasn't aware that she had a legal responsibility, why can't I sue her for not keeping her legal duty to the divorce agreement. The boy will not sue his mother and will not talk to me because I suggested that she should regardless pay for his education because she is his mother and she broke up the family by what I think is illegal in North Carolina by having another man's child while married. She's trash, but she has a nice home, a good income and could have afforded to contributed to his tuition and expenses. Any other idea's?
Response: Regrettably, you still do not have legal standing to file the lawsuit against the ex-wife. The son is the only one with standing based on the information that you have provided here.
I do not have any other ideas. So, I am going to opt out and give another Attorney the opportunity to comment on your case.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

You said you 'opted out' but were paid and on my profile it says this question was answered but was not. Please take off the answered comment and put it back on the board for someone else to answer and refund the money. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I was the executor of his estate. Basically there was nothing left. So can I sue her on behalf of his estate since I was the executor and he left whatever he had to me? Also they were both in the service and she cheated on him and came home pregnant with an officers baby who was also married. They live in North Carolina where the law of leaving a husband for a lover still exists? Since she and her new husband have a child together, can I somehow get to the Navy and have her dishonorably discharged, without benefits and have both of their NSA credentials taken away from them? The lover gave her herpes which she gave my brother and when he passed, the doctor said he had never seen someone's lungs so filled with herpes that it was pretty amazing. She obviously knew this. She passed on a lethal disease to him and like passing on AIDS, can I sue her for her knowingly and willingly giving this to my brother?

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