In a recently decided but unreported decision, the Appellate Court emphasized that the quality of the relationship of a parent and child is an important factor when deciding if a parent should have an obligation to contribute towards college expenses. As the following clip from the New Jersey Law Journal explains, a non-custodial parent may subsequently be relieved of a previously agreed to obligation to contribute towards a child’s college expenses if he or she has not been involved in the college selection process and has been denied a relationship with the child. This case is just one more reason to maintain a strong parenting relationship post-divorce
FAMILY LAW — CHILD SUPPORT
20-2-7216 Agos v. Camuso, App. Div. (per curiam) (13 pp.) Following a hearing pursuant to Newburgh v. Arrigo, in this post-divorce dispute over payment of college costs, Judge DeBello relieved the father, defendant, of the obligation to pay his 60 percent share for the 2010-11 school year on evidence of a lack of communication regarding the son’s college choice. The mother, plaintiff, appeals, arguing that defendant should have been compelled to fulfill his obligation to pay 60 percent of the son’s college costs as set forth in the marital settlement agreement. Plaintiff also argues that the judge erred in conditioning the payment of future tuition on the establishment of meaningful communication. The appellate panel rejects plaintiff’s arguments and affirms, finding the judge’s factual determinations to have been properly supported by evidence in the record and the decision to have constituted a proper use of the judge’s discretion. The judge appropriately considered the Newburgh factors in determining that enforcement of the marital settlement agreement as it applied to the payment of college expenses would not be fair and just in the circumstances presented.