Question #165:My divorce horror story goes like this. I was married to a New York City Police Lieutenant. He punched me in the face, and a week later my daughter and myself moved into our own place. I signed a stipulation that allowed me to have full access to the marital residence for purpose of childcare and visitation thereat. The first time I tried to enter the family residence, my ex called 911. A little while after I left him, I found out that the police department requested his resignation. This was due to the fact that he had sexually harassed a female officer for 4 1/2 years. I left my two sons in the marital residence, since he made 90 thousand dollars. I had my own apartment and three jobs. I soon found out that my ex had forged my name on Janus funds accounts and stole 18,000. I got copies of the checks, went to the DA. in Nassau county and was told to file a civil action. In our stipulation, it required my ex to make the mortgage payments on the house. 10 months after 911 he failed to make the payments, while my name was on the house. During this time he started stalking me. I was doing a book for Great Neck and he followed me and sexually abused me by asking for sexual favors for money. He tried his best to mirco-manage my life. He made constant demands of me, even though it says clearly in my stipulation that nothing shall be construed as a duty or obligation on the part of the wife. He harassed me constantly and was always calling and the sexual advances turned into a sexual assault. At this time in my life I didn’t understand things the way I do now. Currently, I have custody of the17 year old. I had to go to court to get a restraining order to stop the harassment and the next day, he punched my son in the face twice with a clinched fist and was found guilty of maltreatment and abuse. I had documented my visitation for 4 and 1/2 years and I have my boys more than 3/4 of the time. It is my belief, since I was trying to not make his financial life a living hell, that he knew exactly what he was trying to do to me. I had been conned. Instead of him paying me child support, I paid him for many years until I went to court and sued him for unpaid spousal support and also custody of my children. He settled the case, under the advise of his attorney and gave me my son back in lieu of 10 thousand dollars unpaid to me. It says in the last court order that he failed to obey the order of the court and this failure was unwillful. Otherwise he would have gone to jail for 6 months. Also, my ex did violate the restraining order, called me 12 times in 2 hours and banged on my door while I was in the shower. He left me a threatening message and was arrested, although the detective did not believe me because my ex told them he was a retired police officer. I got him on tape and showed evidence to the court and the judge told me to record everything. I am now remarried and my ex wants me to pay half of the college expenses for my son. I am currently applying for SSI, since I have neurofibromatosis, nerve damage and fibromyalgia. My question to you is do the courts order the ex non-custodial parent to pay half or is this based on a pro-rated share of income. He has done his best to try and ruin me, but I am a former U.S. Marine and I will not let him. Please advise.

Generally, the issue of college expenses for children is addressed in the Separation Agreement. If you entered into a Separation Agreement with your spouse, I would have to review the provisions to see exactly what you agreed to. If there is no Separation Agreement, there may be some reference to higher education in the judgment of divorce or in an additional order from the court dealing with the matter.
If the matter has not been addressed in some legal document, then it will be up to the court to decide on the relative responsibilities of each parent. I strongly suggest that you mediate this matter, rather than going to court. It will be less expensive and will allow you to reach an agreement that you will both be able to live with.
If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss this matter at greater length.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions