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Order for parents to pay grad school costs reversed

December 14, 2016

Parents who were ordered in a divorce decree to pay their child's costs of graduate school won’t have to after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the trial court abused its discretion in so ordering.

The appellate panel otherwise affirmed the Allen Superior Court order in a complex divorce appeal in In the Matter of the Marriage of: Mark A. Del Priore v. Jill E. Del Priore, 02A03-1603-DR-605.

Judge James Kirsch wrote for the panel that while an educational support order may require parents to pay expenses of post-secondary education, the Indiana Supreme Court decision in Allen v. Allen, 54 N.E.3d 344 (Ind. 2016) held that this “does not include graduate and professional school expenses.”

The panel remanded the case for the trial court to amend the decree of dissolution to reflect the parties are ordered to pay only for educational expenses that pertain to the child obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

In the 26-page order, the panel otherwise affirmed the trial court in its valuation of a TD Ameritrade account; its denial of credit for husband’s household payments and payments to emancipated children it found gratuitous; its order that husband be responsible for 65 percent of the children’s education expenses; its valuation of an investment husband made without wife’s knowledge; its denial of husband’s request to consider the tax consequences of the division of property; its award of 55 percent of the marital estate to wife and 45 percent to husband; and its order that husband be responsible for 65 percent of wife’s attorney fees and costs.
 

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