Should Divorced Parents be forced to pay kids’ college expenses?

So, in Iowa, when parents are divorced, either or both parents can be ordered by the Court to pay up to 1/3 the cost of a child’s college expenses (and by child I mean adult child — between 19-22 years old), not to exceed 1/3 the total cost of attending a regent university (e.g., U of IA) — this is called a “post secondary education subsidy.”

Thus, if 19 year old Junior wants his divorced parents to help pay his tuition to Iowa State, and one or both of his parents say no, then Junior (or either of his parents) has the right to take one or both of his parents to court and ask a judge to order them to pay up — and normally, the judge will do so (“In determining whether good cause exists for ordering a postsecondary education subsidy, the court shall consider the age of the child, the ability of the child relative to postsecondary education, the child’s financial resources, whether the child is self-sustaining, and the financial condition of each parent.”)

This law has been around in some form since 1997, and I have never been particularly fond of it. It seems to fly in the face of “equal protection under the law” — if parents remain married, or were never married, the issue of whether and how much each parent pays towards the adult child’s college costs is totally up to the individual parent, BUT if the parents get divorced, then that choice is taken away from them — a judge now has the right to order a parent to help finance his/her child’s college education over the parent’s objections. Even if a parent disapproves of his/her child’s lifestyle, or choice of college, or choice of major, or significant other, or just disapproves of college in general. Even is the child has chosen to have little contact with a parent in the years prior to his/her entering college (so long as the child hasn’t “repudiated” the parent, whatever that means).

Yes, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that it is NOT unconstitutional discrimination to require divorced parents to pay for an adult children’s college education even though married parents cannot be forced to do so (In re Marriage of Vrban,,16   And while usually I’m the Supreme Court’s biggest supporter ….. with all due respect, I sincerely believe that they dropped the ball on this one. Sure, I agree that sometimes divorces get nasty, and sometimes one parent takes out his/her anger at the other parent on the kids, especially if the kids “chose” the other parent.  And if a non-custodial parent who can afford to help his/her adult child out w/college refuses to do so because he/she is still pissed off at the kid (or the custodial parent) because of the way the divorce turned out, then that’s  petty and mean, but hey, so what? That’s life. Sometimes parents are jerks to their adult kids, just like sometimes adult kids are jerks to their parents, but is it an appropriate use of limited judicial resources for the courts to be meddling around in the family financial affairs of a bunch of adults?

So what do you think?  Let me know, and take the poll …. I love polls!

About Representative Mary Wolfe

Part time attorney; full time State Representative for Iowa House District 98 (East Clinton County)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Should Divorced Parents be forced to pay kids’ college expenses?

  1. Mom says:

    You ask a loaded question, you get the answer you were seeking…

  2. Nate McClintock says:

    Let’s scrach the surface a little bit … Student loans are exempt from Bankruptcy Laws and are now being investigated for predatory loan practices ….. A family that is going though a divorce is extremely vulnerable … Forcing them to take out a student loan with no recourse … Just seems to be adding insult to injury… Don’t you Think ?

  3. Rhiannon says:

    My husband I and would gladly split the cost of college for his son (my stepson) if we had an equal split with time. But because of our unfair court system, his mother and stepfather spend so much more time with him than we get to, I don’t think we should be responsible for as much. Less time = unfair. My husband and I have every right to see my stepson as much as his mother and stepfather. If people like you would back the HF 345 bill, maybe my husband and I would have a shot in hell in having 50/50 custody of my stepson so that he can have an equal relationship with us. Everyone in our family suffers because we get less time with my stepson. I wish I could have a closer relationship with him, but instead he calls stepdad “dad” and I am still just Rhiannon. Think about what you are doing to families that are not deadbeats that love their children by not backing this bill.

    • Vane says:

      And it doesn’t get any better, they go off to college, you are bullied by the other parents to pay way more than you can afford and then you have to pay upfront and you don’t get the liberty like the controlling custodial parent that have the children elect student loans and they don’t have to pay their share. The system is not fair. The kids grow up and become more distant ( in our experience). We thought the kids would grow up and stop being spoiled, selfish individuals, but because they were raised by their self-centered mother and step-father, you guessed it, they have turned out just like them! When we tried to negotiate an amount that would be reasonable, their mother sends my step-daughter over to harass my husband to tell him that he is a dead-beat dad just to manipulate him more. -Nevermind the fact that we almost lost our home due to being in debt already, and the custodial parents insult us by driving mercede benz’s, harley davidsons, camero’s and live in a half million dollar home. and force us to pay more than they do by throwing the 598 code in our faces, threaten to sue us, etc, and our lawyer tells us to just pay it because the lawyer fees will be too much and most likely they would win despite the disparity of incomes, etc. The interesting thing is that we are not the dead-beat parents, we have always made child payments, covered their health insurance and tried to be loving, supportive parents. We can’t wait for justice, perhaps when we all stand before God, they will finally get what’s coming to them!

  4. Steve says:

    First of all, the matter of post secondary educational subsidy I am complete agreement with you Ms, Wolfe. I also respectfully disagree with the Iowa Supreme Court. The law and the ruling only specifically targets divorced parents, it says nothing for children in intact households nor children of of unmarried parents. It is in fact discriminatory to one particular group and gives the courts authority over a decision involving three adults…hmmm why does “Jim Crow” come to mind.

    This is nothing new, the Iowa Family Courts discriminate against loving fit capable competent individuals all the time. In Clinton County Ms, Wolfe we studied the rulings and yes it indicates a bias and yes you are aware as I forwarded those statistics to you. Ms, Wolfe, really are you concerned with equal access for children to both fit,caring, loving, capable and competent parents? I am confused on this as a former client shared with me you were insistent that he have shared custody until the last minute…. Then of course it was here’s your very limited access schedule, upon hearing this I thought wow!!! she took an equal access position and failed but then again she spoke against equal access legislation..CONFUSING>>>??? Flip-flop? I don’t know what to call it..nor how to understand how you can have two separate positions..

    So Ms. Wolfe, I appreciate your concern particularly since you have a son who is will most likely be in college next year and you also being divorced. Not withstanding that Legislation to modernize a system stuck in it’s archaic view would be more meaningful to children.

    I will also be printing this in case it accidentally gets erased… 😉 (wink you know what I am talking about Mary)
    I am posting that for you non-custodial parents constituents that need advocacy in County that has fell clearly short

    • wolfelaw says:

      Really? House File 2111, which I filed, is a bill that seeks to eliminate a law that is unfair to divorced parents, and which is primarily enforced against divorced fathers — yet your response is full of snide comments and nasty insinuations (and leave my son out of it, seriously.That’s just creepy). As for my bill, if I can’t get it out of committee and through the House this session, I won’t be running it again. So contact whatever lucky legislator represents you in the House and let them know you support the bill, unless you prefer the status quo, in which case you can share that w/your Rep.

      • Carolee severson says:

        Please tell me how I can be apart of this bill. I would love nothing to to support you a 110%. And I have the ideal story to tell to prove it.

  5. j. j. holmes says:

    Wow, Mary, what happened to my post from earlier? The one in which I questioned your supposed concern for “equal protection under the law”? I mean, seriously, you voted against equal parenting assurance to the children of this state. HF 345 would ensure to all of the children of Iowa, that biased judges like David Sivright and your personal friend Charles Pelton could no longer forcefully remove their fathers from their lives. Come on Mary make up your mind.

  6. wolfelaw says:

    I haven’t erased any posts, but I have explained my position on your bill, multiple times, in multiple forums, politely, despite the fact that you are not polite and you are not my constituent and I am not your Representative and thus I do not understand why you care so very very much about how I chose to vote on one bill. And I am done having this ridiculous discussion, so as of now, this is a constituent only page, at least as far as you are concerned, because I don’t want any more of this silliness clogging up my blog. Go harass your own elected official. Adios.

  7. sally ann says:

    Yes. The reason these laws exist is that the fathers’ lawyers would routinely go in and try to scare the moms into reducing c/s or custody time by threatening to pay “not a penny” towards college. Rather than leave the child with a huge debt burden, the mom would cave.

    You know, if the dads would step up in the first place, refraining from going to war in divorce, voluntarily paying their proportional share of the kids’ former standard of living, behaving respectfully to the moms, and doing the right thing by helping their kids save for college, these laws wouldn’t be necessary. I really don’t want to hear about how it’s not possible, by the way. I live on under $40K including child support (and no, I’m not jetting off to Aruba on the c/s), and I pay a mortgage and put away money for both college and retirement, and when I needed a new car I bought a $1400 used one. My ex, on the other hand, has a motorcycle and a new truck, and decided it was important that *he* go back to school for a new, poorly-paid career, despite having gone to college before. So now he’s got school debt, too. If he’s saving for the kid’s college I haven’t heard about it.

  8. sally ann says:

    Whoops. Mary, you write: “And if a non-custodial parent who can afford to help his/her adult child out w/college refuses to do so because he/she is still pissed off at the kid (or the custodial parent) because of the way the divorce turned out, then that’s petty and mean, but hey, so what? That’s life.”

    It’s more than petty and mean. It starts the kids out in life with a crippling debt burden. Worse, colleges take the father’s income into account for awarding aid whether or not he helps pay for college — they figure it’s up to the kids and courts to twist his arm.

    In the tug-of-war the ones who get hurt are the young people, who at 18 and 19 are faced with the choice of not going to school or signing for tens of thousands in debt, not knowing what kind of jobs they’ll be able to get at the end of it. And knowing that they’re in that spot because the old man cares about them that little. That’s a little heavier than “that’s life”.

    I do think that divorced parents should have to disclose to prospective new spouses what they’re on the hook for, though, before they marry. One of the biggest sources of stepmom outrage I see is finding that — surprise! — her man owes tens of thousands for the stepkids’ college, when she’s trying to scrape together tuition for her own child. If the stepmoms are going to take on that burden, which they do in fact if not in law, then they should know about it going in.

  9. sally ann says:

    I’m curious, by the way, about how often the ed subsidy clause is enforced. I find it difficult to believe that many kids are going back to sue the old man when they know he’s got no money, or when he’s been a good dad and for whatever reason doesn’t believe this should be his burden. I see a lot of parents start out that way, incidentally, married and divorced, because they’re thinking of what tuition was 20 years ago. I hear some of them change their minds once they see the staggering numbers and the difficulty of finding any job without a degree. Once they do the math and realize that the payoff schedule’s not friendly to ever retiring or homeownership, and what kind of income is really necessary to pay off rapidly, they see the kid is screwed and try to help out.

    If you ask me, though, this is really a problem to do with university tuition inflation and the racket the universities run. In 1980, a third of Regents’ tuition and fees was negligible. Now it’s something substantial. And we’re lucky here. Other states, in-state rates are just insurmountable.

    • wolfelaw says:

      Hey, thanks for a providing a different take on the topic … and while I don’t have any figures on how often the post secondary education subsidy issue ends up in court (guess I probably should, huh?), I know that for several years after they changed the law there seemed to be a lot of litigation …. not so much anymore, or maybe the cases just aren’t getting appealed. I’ll try to get some actual statistics, though.

  10. sally ann says:

    Okay…thought about this one some more.

    Yes, it sucks if your old man, after a lifetime of ignoring you and being an ass to your mom, not only won’t help you pay for college but makes your life tougher because his income’s counted in your fin-aid applications, so you miss out on school aid, too. But I’m here thinking: Wtf. Kids already have to live through a divorce; more than likely their parents are poorer than they’d have been if they’d stuck together. Where other kids can just go home, they’ve had to deal with visitation and all its negotiations. Odds are their dad was late with support or didn’t pay as he should’ve, and the mom was stressed and the kids had to pretend they didn’t notice. They had to deal with parental girlfriends and boyfriends, not all of them nice, and maybe a stepparent and stepsibs. And they dealt with it all, and now they’re applying for college.

    And you want to pull another stick out from under them? Lady, have a heart. If they get an advantage, somewhere, over kids whose parents can stay married and get along, I think the world will survive.

    Your dad’s a lawyer, as I recall, and he’s been helpful in your career. When and where I grew up, parents expected and prepared to put the kids through college. (Which is why I started saving for college for my kid when I was pregnant.) Here, I see way too many kids trying to do it on their own, without even much encouragement from their folks. You know that huge failure-to-graduate rate at UI? That’s a good part of why it exists. So yeah. It’s totally cool by me if kids who already have a rough go can turn to their folks, some of whom may not have stepped up too well before, and say, “Hey Mom or Pop, it’s time to help out.”

    At the same time, I’d like to see the universities do their share. If the kids’ parents do their bit, the university should chip in too. Lower that tuition for the parents. And if the kids from married families say “no fair,” tell them, “You know what’s no fair? That that kid got dragged through a divorce for a year, had to watch her mom date and deal with grownups’ issues instead of her own, and had to live with her grandma a while and switch schools because her mom couldn’t afford an apartment. That was no fair. I bet if I went up to her and said, ‘I can swap out your childhood and have your parents together and liking each other well enough, and your mom not so stressed, and you’d never have had to go back and forth between them, but you’ll have to give up this $8K tuition discount,’ she’d jump at it.”

  11. sally ann says:

    😉 Which, of course, would put the whole thing back on your desk, because of how state support for the Regents has dropped as a percentage of each institution’s budget. What is it now, 12% at UI? 15%?

    I only know UI, not ISU and UNI. I do know that the vast majority of that $3bn UI budget is hospitals. But if we look just at the “actual university” side, which I think runs about $600m these days…well, I don’t know how that compares with “actual university” budgets of, say, the late 1980s, accounting for inflation. I do know that when I got here in the early 90s, a semester of grad tuition ran about $1300, and these days the cheapest semester’s tuition (CLAS undergrad) will run you around $8K in tuition and the clever fees that’ve been invented.

    If, after inflation’s accounted for, it turns out that the state contribution to the budget’s dropped substantially…well, there’s part of the problem, and why that divorced-parental subsidy is so horsechoking now and causing such problems. The parents are making up part of what the state’s pulled away. So, I don’t know, maybe give them a state income tax credit in years when they have to pay. (Added to the federal tax credits for tuition/fees paying, that should give them a substantial break.)

    The tuition problem’s a whole morass on its own, of course, and I think that nationally we’re in the midst of a reckoning about it. (Finally.) But I don’t expect any substantial break for the kids for a long time, and back of my head I can still hear the voice of a German graduate student telling me why so many students want to come here, rather than go to the cheap universities at home. Vast lecture halls, no contact with profs, quality often lacking. Would it be helpful if universities stopped the amenities arms race for the students most likely to bring them prestige someday, yes, and would it help if professors recognized that in a market economy, teaching 3 courses a year in 16th c. French history load plus producing middling scholarship doesn’t rate $80K plus bennies and travel funds annually, yes, it’d help. But I don’t think either is likely anytime soon.

    The state could also do the kids a favor by leaning on the feds to force colleges to stop using parental incomes in fin aid calculations when a parent has a substantial income/assets, but refuses to pay or cooperate.

  12. sally ann says:

    Okay (sorry for the serial posting):

    A totally different take here. Look at it as a social policy thing, a human-capital thing. Track the progress of kids from divorced families v. never divorced. What’s the difference in college graduation rates and lifetime incomes?

    I’m guessing — just a guess — that kids who grow up in single-parent households do substantially worse over time. Just because the time and money for all kinds of advantages is lacking. Maybe nobody has time to help much with homework, or the kid has to be in after-school care instead of being on a team, or who knows. If it’s true that the kids do worse overall, then you want to do something about this in giving the ones who can get their butts into college a boost.

    Who pays? The parents, partly. The taxpayers, partly, maybe. The Regents universities, partly, maybe, if the kids go there. But if these kids already struggle in life, the last thing you want to do is make college graduation tougher for them.

    There’s no way I can pay for my kid to go to the kind of university I went to, and unless she turns into some kind of superstar in the next few years I doubt she’ll be pulling in full rides to places like that on her own. Her friends, junior and senior year, will all be flying off to campus visits and taking test-prep classes, and she won’t. (I think both are silly, but there’s no choice about it here; I haven’t the money.) They’ll be able to consider schools that, financially, will have no place on her radar. Will they have a long-term advantage over her? Probably. But because of the parental subsidy bit, she can go to a decent school in Iowa with some good faculty and she won’t walk out owing $60K for a BA that’s the new high-school diploma. Maybe she can even live at school and make those connections with people who’ll be her friends the rest of her life, being there for her and helping her professionally. And maybe she can use that as a springboard.

    You know, I know this is a cultural/regional thing, but I’m still kind of shocked that any parents want to pull back from helping the kids go to college.

  13. Stan and Deb Dempsey says:

    Representative Wolfe, My wife is currently in litigation with her ex-husband concerning the tuition support along with child support involving our two sons. Like with most lawsuits, there are some unique facts in the case, but perhaps the most troubling issue is whether a court will determine child has “repudiated” a parent. In our case, our oldest son refuses to take our calls or respond to text messages for nearly two years. My wife was left out of all the decisions regarding our son’s college planning and financial arrangements. Now that we have asked for the post secondary subsidy for our second son, the ex-husband has asked for the subsidy but only as response to our petition.

    Proving “repudiation” is difficult, and we have concluded with our counsel that claiming oldest son has “repudiated” my wife may be diffic, we have attempted to engage the other party in settlement discussions so that we can determine whether our oldest son is eligible for the subsidy, and what the amount of the subsidy might be. At this point, we have have not received a response to this overture.

    My wife and I, though we are not citizens of Iowa (not even part time residents as of yesterday), support the repeal of the post-secondary subsidy, but realize repealing statutes like this may be difficult. We are happy to provide you with insights as we proceed to a trial (which has been rescheduled) nearly a year after beginning this process.

    If you are unable to convince your legislative colleagues to repeal the subsidy, perhaps you can attempt to provide the Courts more guidance how they should interpret “repudiation”, as well as better define “good cause”. This may help to both the Courts and parents who are embroiled in this litigation.

    Thanks for your efforts to address this issue, and please don’t hesitate to let us know if you would like our support address this issue.

    • My bill doing away with the post secondary education subsidy appears to be dead — which is odd, because I actually thought it would appeal to a broad group of legislators. Go figure. And I agree that a lot of the language in the statute is vague, but defining terms like “repudiation” and “good cause” is normally left up the Courts, to develop in case law. Although it does seem that in order to prove repudidation you pretty much need a letter stating “I repudiate you,” and as far as good cause, the very fact that the kid is in college seems to be, in and of itself, good cause. Seriously, the whole provision just needs to go. Maybe next year.

    • Lori says:

      I would like to hear about your process.

  14. Laura says:

    I think it can be a good thing, but needs to be modified. As in Iowa, Child Support ends at 18. I make approx. $60,000 a year and my ex makes probably 180,000-200,000. I think the help should be based on each parents income, not a flat 1/3. I am still paying on my Masters.My ex- spent our savings and most of his 401k. I am going to have to get loans for my child while he should have enough income to pay his 1/3. I loose almost a 1,000 a month child support and he gains it back. I think if the parents getting support, should continue to get child support through post secondary education.

  15. Deena says:

    Single parents are screwed. we work hard, pay higer taxes. Our cut off for tax break on student loans is more than half of a married couple. I work hard but pay more into the system. Can’t help my loser ex walked out. I have 2 kids with one income. I pay more taxes than a married neighbor with twice the income. I feel like I am being punished. I paid my own college, served in the military, pay my bills, and have never been on government assistance. Now i should pay $100,000 per child for college? Taxes should be the same accross the board. Single people can earn as much as a married couple. Should we be punished? Punish us for having good credit. It just needs to be fair.

  16. karen says:

    The bottom line is that divorced parents should not be required to pay for their children’s college costs unless married parents are required to do the same. AND until there is a law that requires adult children to financially care for their aging parent(s) should the need arise, there should be no law requiring any parent to pay for their children’s college when they should be saving for their own potential financial misfortunes and their senior years. What help will those states that forced these parents to pay for their children’s college offer to them when they are unable to support themselves in their 50s, 60s, and later years?

    As most of us know, only a small percentage of the population is so well off that they can pay the current costs of a college education without incurring significant debt that will jeopardize their own financial well being in their middle age or senior years. It is true that most parents are approximately age 40 or older by the time their “adult children” are entering college. Parents of all types (married, divorced, never married etc.) typically have spent a considerable amount of money raising their children until the age of 18 or 19. As a result, the statistics show that the vast majority of people are not financially prepared for retirement and their senior years. Who is better capable of paying off tens of thousands of dollars of student loan payments? Someone in their middle age or approaching middle age who should be saving for their retirement or someone who is in their early to mid-20s and has decades of work ahead of them?

  17. sally ann says:

    Mary, have a look at what Inside Higher Ed has to say. Summary: Kids from divorced families are screwed, relative to kids from intact families. Kids of divorce pay between 1/2 and 2/3 of the cost of their educations, compared with kids from married families, who pay about 1/4. Also, the kids with single parents go to much less expensive schools, which arguably kinda gives them the shaft when it comes to taking advantage of admission to high-flyer schools: the kind of places where you get valuable connections and where the school name’s a calling card for life. All in all, the divorced kids are disadvantaged relative to the majority married-parents kids (78%), because divorced parents just do not pay as much for college, by any measure.

    Deena, in Iowa, you will not be paying $100K per kid. You will be paying 1/3 the in-state rate for a state school. That makes your current contribution about $28K for four years of college (at UI’s rates), including room and board. Your ex-husband’s contribution will be the same. And guess what — married parents, on the whole, will still pay more.

    As a single mom who lives below median income, I’d dearly love to hear less complaining from other single moms and dads about how expensive children are. Yes, they cost real money, even when they’re healthy and the public schools are good. College costs (too much) money, activities cost money, trips, food, clothes, friends’ birthday presents, all of it. You need to think about these things before you have the kids.

    • Laura says:

      You are not correct when you say the current contribution is $28K. I have a child going to U of I this fall. My third is 8-10,000 for this year alone.

  18. sally ann says:

    Deena points up another problem: tracking down deadbeats. Mary, what about that?

  19. sally ann says:

    Also, the whole repudiation thing is a problem. If a kid refuses to go to his dad’s because the dad and stepmom (or mom & stepdad, etc.) are making his life hell, should he then be punished for this when it comes time for college? I think you’d really need to look into the family dynamics if you wanted anything approximating justice, and I really dislike this whole business of assuming that a 14-year-old kid is savvy and together enough to make sensible financial decisions that’ll affect the rest of his life. That in particular strikes me as nuts. I find the whole repudiation business spiteful, childish, and petty on the parents’ parts, frankly.

    Better: This is your child. Your adolescent child. Who may some day turn around. Don’t be a jerk. Instead, keep on being a responsible parent. Odds are excellent that someday the kid will come to, and then, instead of seeing that you got down to the level of a stupid, miserable 14-year-old, will see that you behaved like a stand-up parent and adult who believed in him.

    So knock it off, Stan. (Deb, under the law, you’re not obliged to pay a dime.) I don’t know why he won’t talk to you, whether it’s more your fault or his, but you’re talking about $7K/yr. Don’t finish alienating your kid for $7K a year, that’s dumb. Be the good guy.

  20. Lori says:

    Mary, I think it needs to go or make all parents pay. Please let me know if I can help in any way or sign something to petition against this law. Every parent has a different finanacial situation and should be considered.

  21. Laura says:

    I think all parents should help. As far as divorced parents, it should NOT be a flat 1/3. It should go by income. Also, what about divorced children that have a lifetime disease. My child is type on diabetic that is suppose to be responsible for her medical expenses once she is 18 according to law. Her Dad makes a lot more than I do but you cant rely on him to help. I know other fathers that had to pay child support while their child was in college.I don’t mind not getting child support once 18 but it makes no sense when you need child support prior to 18 but all of a sudden you don’t need it and are expected to pay 8-10K for college when loosing 1,000 a month when they turned 18. In my case the father makes a lot more. He gains additional 12k from child support. He makes up for his 1/3 and then some. As I stated earlier. I make approx 60K support majority of 2 children older than 18 and their father makes approx 180-200K, Problem is he was a Sugardaddy and spent our life savings on 20 yr. old women and prostitutes the last couple yrs.while he traveled for work. The problem is I make just enough not to get aid but he spent our savings. I’m living simple while while he is spending money wining and dining women….something is wrong with the picture.

    One question I do have is if a student gets grants from going on the Mothers income, does she get the credit towards her third?

  22. Carolee severson says:

    For instance in my case you ex husband has used the legal system for 15 years to get me back for leaving him which has obviously affected my son. I moved out of state for employment and my ex has not allowed my son to see me in over 6 years. I extend invitations to home 5 times a year and his dad says he’s not allowed to for every reason undertow sun. (Mainly money) I have been bulled and harnessed by him and his attorney for so many years that not only the divorce ruined me financially but so did the attorney bills. I currently am unemployed and rely on my fiancée to cover our expenses, which I have no debt. The really sad part of this is it’s cost me a relationship with my son and memories for my family. I have no influence or guidance to give him due to limited or no conduct. You know as a parent, let alone a mother this is devastating enough, know more legal bills and legal bills that could have paid for his education many times over.

    • Lori says:

      Thsi is an expamle of what the Iowa Court is doing to families and low income people. It is not right! People have to get together and get this stopped. This economy is not helping either.

  23. Cheri says:

    The post secondary education subsidy is clearly discrimnatory and isolative of one category of adult children. The right thing to do is to include all adult children within the law or none. Then again, should the law tell us how to parent, then perhaps the state and judicial system can come up with ways to send all adult children to school and pay for it, thus another entitlement program and higher taxes. Just what we need. Not! I vote for non discrimination and doing away with the law, placing family choices back within the constraints of the parents. From a very early age we started planning for college and as our son has gotten older he continues to plan ahead and knows the expectations and personal responsibilites involved in post secondary education, as this is what parents do. Post secondary education involves so much more than just $. It is not the responsibility of lawmakers and courts in regards to adult children and how parents should choose to parent their adult children. Please let us know what we should do as citizens to get this off the books. I will be emailing my representative as well. But there has to be more we can do, such as petition or group lawsuit due to the dicriminatory nature of the post secondary education subsidy. Keep it live! This is discrimination toward all our adult children!

    • Lori says:

      I have contacted my representative and will continue to do so again. I would like to see an attorney that would be willing to take this on just for recognition. I think it would be a landmark case. I also think it needs to be addressed in the media . I have not seen any articles about this. I contacted the Des Moines Register and they said they were not interested in writing any articles on the subject. Get fired up.

  24. When the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on the issue of homosexual marriage, their reasoning was that the State had no legitimate interest in who married whom. By this standard why does the State have any interest in marriage at all? Shouldn’t the interest of the State be the welfare of children, no matter what the status of the parents?

  25. Lori says:

    I think divorced parents dealing with this should sue Iowa.

  26. Lori says:

    I think divorced parents dealing with this should sue Iowa. I visited with two attorneys in Iowa and they said they had never seen this before. They were amazed. They were both Family Law. Looking at my income they did not understand how any judge could think that I could afford to pay a third of a State University Education.

    • Betty says:

      I agree. We have paid child support for 3 kids since the oldest was 6. The youngest is now 17 and will be gong to college next year. We have 2 kids of our own that we need to pay for food, clothing and a roof over our heads. We paid our child support and did so on time for all of these years. I don’t think a State should mandate that we pay college tuition. Many kids of married couples have to get student loans, go to metro college, or not go at all because they can’t afford it. How can a state mandate that we pay this?

  27. Lori says:

    Something else to consider. What about illegal immigrants, or legal immigrants that have come to the US recently and receive free educations at our state colleges? Or a portion paid by taxpayers? Why are they treated better than divorced parents in Iowa, and their children?

    • lisa says:

      I have read through some of these inquiries. Some I am sympathetic to, but others I am not. In my situation, which is unique, my fiance had not dated anyone for 10 years since his divorce from his only son’s mother. The son was 15 at the time we got married & at 1st he loved me & my 12 year old daughter. But when there were normal family rules applied he rebelled horribly. He called me a BI**ch & other names when his father/my husband’s back was turned. Things got worse & my husband’s ex-wife even came into our home to tell my husband “what the hell was he thinking?! She doesn’t even know me”!! Like we needed permission. from that point on my step-son from hell decided he did not want to see his father unless he left me, his wife. For 3 years my husband called his son 3 times a week & left a message to meet with him outside our home. No response at all. Then at age 18 1/2 we get a summons to court to pay for 30,000 a year college expenses for photo editing. We are now fighting for repudiation & have provided the courts with sufficient evidence of fraud, tax evasion, perjury, & Illegally accepting Grant money!! We are now in the finding of facts hearing & I am nervous. These people have put me & my husband through hell, not only financially, but emotionally. We have provided documentation that the son’s college is already paid for in full by his wealthy grandfather…..Should I worry about the Judge’s decision?? My husband has been a wonderful father, but his son has chosen the wrong path, to be like his mother “greedy”

  28. Lynn says:

    My husband is divorced and his ex-wife has custody of their 3 kids. The youngest will be 18 at the time she starts college. We are required to pay 1/3 of her college, but we didn’t find out about this law until about 5 years ago. We also have 2 kids of our own to provide for, and they are only 11 and 12. How do they expect us to pay for housing, clothes, food, etc for our own kids when we also have to pay 1/3 of college because of a law we weren’t told about until about 5 years ago? It’s a ridiculous law, and they are penalizing the non-custodial parent.

  29. fantastic publish, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite experts of this
    sector do not understand this. You should proceed your writing.
    I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  30. CareyB says:

    This is truly an unfair law. I know that probably sounds childish, but think about it….parents being told by a court that their child’s (or worse yet – plural CHILDREN!) post-secondary education is partially their responsibility – how is that right? Going to college is not a “right” – it’s a privilege. If a student decides to go to college, the student needs to be aware of what the full expense will be and determine if that college experience is truly worth the cost of attending. Some students would decide they don’t want thousands in student loan debt and some may decide it’s worth it – but why is this on the parents to help pay for? What if the parents are paying for their own student loans? How are parents supposed to support themselves and their adult children? What about the adult student who decided to wait awhile after high school to attend college — they’re just out of luck. This is a law that needs to be abolished. If a student decides to go to college, it’s on the student to pay for – nobody else. Not the parents, not the taxpayers, just the student. What’s next? Some 19 year old wants a new Ferrari – do they get to go to their parents and say, “Pay up!”?

    • I totally agree – unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to get many of my House colleagues to agree with me. Which I find surprising, but I suppose like so many things, until current law has a negative impact on you or someone you know it’s not a real thing, right?

So what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s