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How to prepare for transition into adult SK - protect myself

ICanMakeIt's picture

My DH and Ex have a very acrimonious relationship. No real communication until absolutely necessary. $ matters for her, pick up times for him. We live quite far. They have shared legal but she has the kids majority of time.

It has been brutal dealing with his EX and the games over the years.

I'm here mainly for advice/suggestions on how to prepare/protect myself (and DH) from being used as an ATM as SS gets closer to HS graduation.
My DH gave ex everything in divorce and only fought for more time with kids. This of course left him (as he is a bit older) financially wiped out.
I have my own house and we are doing okay now. I have read in other places some horror stories about kids and financial aid and getting parents into debt with school loans. I don't want him or I at all involved with anything financial (not saying we wouldn't give him some spending cash but I mean legally obligated) for school. We won't be forced to turn over tax info or anything will we? We have nothing to hide just don't want to be affiliated at all.
I don't picture SS going into a traditional college, but more than likely a technical school.

I probably sound a bit all over the place, but any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Jcksjj's picture

That site says parents are not responsible for federal student loans. I wouldnt sign anything else but those. He shouldn't need anything else for a tech school I wouldn't think.

My mom had custody and only her income was on my student loans, but that was 12 years ago so could have changed by now. I cant remember if my dads name was on it at all or not but I dont think so.

notarelative's picture

But, while federal student loans do not ask for a parent co-signer, if students need/ want more than the available amount, there are parent loans. If DH is guilted into a parent loan, then he may be in financial difficulty. 

DH needs to be realistic about his financial contribution to college. If not careful, he could end up paying these loans with his social security. 

ybarra357's picture

I believe if SS applies for financial aid the FAFSA will ask for your DH’s financial info.  Hopefully, your DH won’t entertain the notion of cosigning loans. 

tog redux's picture

FAFSA uses only the custodial home income - parent and stepparent. So only BM and her spouse if she has one will be on that form. 

futurobrillante99's picture

What you need to do to protect yourself and DH from financial ruin is to put limits on your DH!!!

Insulate yourself financially from any dumbassery your DH might be prone to. If you are the chief saver and wage earner or have the bulk of retirement savings the two of you will be living off of, please consult an attorney to protect YOURSELF.

Protect yourself from your DH and you might have a pleasant retirement.

2Tired4Drama's picture

I was going to advise the same thing.  You MUST MUST MUST look out for yourself, first and foremost.  I suggest going to an attorney ON YOUR OWN and explaining your situation and your concerns.  There are ways you can protect your assets and kudos to you for knowing this is something to look into now, before something skid or DH related crops up in the future.

Your DH sounds like he is more than willing to sacrifice his (and your) financial future if it means he will maintain a relationship with his son, or provide for him if he is in need.  This is a big red flag.  Just because your SS graduates, and even if he appears to launch successfully as an adult after that, there are no guarantees in life. 

If your SS eventually has any kind of financial disaster - whether it be legal, medical, grandchildren or other - I think your DH would probably be willing to hand over as much cash as necessary.  This can result in disaster for you!  

I vividly remember my SO once saying that he would be willing to go bankrupt if he had to - in order to make sure that his "adult" kids had the medical care they needed if anything happened to them.  That was all I needed to hear.  I silently decided then I would not ever marry him nor would I share any finances or property with him.  

As another example, SD is currently pregnant and the baby has been identified as having a serious medical issue.  There is no telling the amount of resources this child will need throughout its life.  While I understand perfectly that my SO will want to open up his wallet to support SD and her child any way he can, it's not something I'm willing to do.  

It doesn't end when the skids become adults.  Be very aware of that.  Very. 

I'll be damned if the retirement and other assets I worked so hard for could be tapped into for skid issues.  Not happening. 


notsurehowtodeal's picture

Does the custody order address college costs? If it doesn't, then at this point in time, DH has no obligation to pay for college or to sign any loans. If it does, he would have to abide by what is in the order. BM could attempt to change the CO, but DH could fight that.

You and DH need to get on the same page about this. If you both agree not to sign for loans, then there should be no problem. As was said, FAFSA only require income from the custodial parent and their spouse.

SacrificialLamb's picture

You need to find out the laws of your state. They are all different. Some states don't mention college in a custody order because neither the academic ability of the child nor the ability of the parents to pay for college  are known at that time. I divorced in a state where we addressed college 12 years after our divorce.....when my kids graduated high school.

2Tired4Drama's picture

I understand the logic behind waiting to see what plans the young adult has post high school.  But...

What I don't fundamentally understand is that once a person is 18 years of age, they are considered a legal adult.  These "adults" can vote, go out and get married, they can join the military, they can be tried as an adult, can be on a jury deciding others' fates, and can have children they are legally responsible for.   Why then would a parent still face a potential mandatory obligation to pay for their "kid's" education? 

Please keep in mind I am of an older generation.  Education (after high school) was not an entitlement one was expected to get.

I can imagine the financial havoc it might cause for a parent as well as their second spouse to learn that a skid wants to attend college for four years to get a liberal arts degree - with no plans to contribute to their own educational costs.  And the court decrees they have to pay.

Rags's picture

SS let us off of the hook of paying for college when he enlisted in the USAF.  

We would have paid for his college anywhere he wanted to go.  However, he had very limited choices on what he could study if he were to go to college on our dime.  I learned well and good that it is insanely expensive to hop majors and transfer colleges and universities.  My undergrad took me 11 years to complete and I accumulated in the 230 semester hour range before I graduated.  I was in school every semester of that 11 years. Not always full time but I was in class.  

My experience had significant impact on SS's college options. At least any options that would have been on our dime.

Rags's picture

No, you do not have to provide any financial information including tax information for the Skid's college financing.  However, the  financial aid office will demand the information from the SKids.  After my divorce I sold my business and went back to school full time to complete my Engineering degree.  I was 26 at that time and had been totally financially independent from my parents for 5 years.  Irregardless of that fact the financial aid office required my parent's tax returns.  I told the financial aid office no.  I was an independent adult and to run my financial aid package without my parent's financial information.  Without their tax returns I was completely DQ'd from grants or subsidized loans. The financial aid office is a bunch of entitlement sucking crooks that do not look at students as individuals but look at families as a resource pool to suck dry. IMHO.

I did take our supplemental school loans which are not subsidized.  

The most irritrating part of the whole process was when I went in to apply for financial aid there was a young woman who walked in right behind to apply.  She was asked the same questions I was.  The difference being that her mother was on welfare though the young woman had no clue how to get hold of her mother, her grandmother was on welfare and she did not know who her father was.  She was raised by her grandmother.  I had to fill out a stack of forms. She had to fill out two pages.  They did not insist on her father's, mother's or GM's tax returns.  

I was called to the financial aid office a few weeks later to receive my aid.  I had several $thousand in supplemental loans.  The same young woman was in the office when I arrived. She got piles of grants that she did not have to pay back and another pile of subsidized gov't student loans.   All without any family financial information required.

I was livid.

If things haven't changed in the nearly 30 years since I did the financial aid thing, no, you cannot be forced to provide your financial information except by the courts.  If your CO says nothing about DH being responsible for participating in the provision of finances for his kid's college, then when they age out from under the CO there is no remaining financial obligation.

still learning's picture

It all depends on DH's CO. If support extends beyond high school then yes, he will be on the hook for college costs if BM petitions for it.  Financial Aid is based on the custodial parents (parent/stepparent) income/assessts but if ss needs additional loans or funding DH's information could be brought before the court. If the two of you have had any joint assessts three years prior (depending on state laws) then yes, your assets and joint tax records will be considered as well.  I have a junior in college this year and every year DH (bs's SF) and I have to fill out the FAFSA based on our joint tax records. Luckily bs is on scholarship but there are things it doesn't cover so I do pitch in and help him.  I help because I love him and want him to be independant and debt free when he graduates. 

To protect yourself you will have to completely seperate ALL finances, accounts, and assets.  As a parent who helped bring ss into the world and should contribute to his higher education, DH should be financially preparing for this.  

Rags's picture

In our CO BioDad was on the hook for continued CS as long as SS was a full time college student in good standing with his school until his 22 birthday.  However, CS to my DW ended on SS's 18th birthday.  After 18 CS would shift to being directly paid to SS ... if... SS requested it from the CSE office.

They guilted him into not nailing the SpermIdiot's ass to the wall for four more years of CS.  The "that is taking food out of your little sister and your little brothers' mouths, it's not fair, whaaaaaaa!"

I actually like this element of SpermLand COs.  Once a kid hits 18 or HS graduation, whichever is first, CS goes to the kid rather than the CP as long as the kid is in a college, university, trade school.  I would like it better if the CS automatically shifted to the kid at that point rather than requiring the kid to request it.  The pressure on Skids to maintain loyalty to both sides of their blended family equation is hard enough.