A case decided by the Connecticut Appellate Court, suggests Educational Support orders entered pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-56c may not be entered retroactively. In Kleinman v. Chapnick, 131 Conn. App. 812 (2011), the parties had two children who were over the age of eighteen and enrolled as full-time college students. During the divorce proceedings, the parties’ older daughter was a senior and their younger daughter was a freshman. In February 2010, after the parties entered into a final agreement on custody and visitation, a two day trial ensued regarding financial issues.
As part of its decision, the Court ordered the husband to pay 100 percent of the statutory expenses for the education of the parties’ younger daughter beginning with the 2010-2011 school year. As the Court did not enter an order with respect to the 2009-2010 school year, the wife filed a Motion to Clarify, Correct and/or Reargue. The Court subsequently heard the wife’s motion, but declined to change its position.
On appeal, the Connecticut Appellate Court found that the husband made voluntary payments for the 2009-2010 school year that exceeded his statutory obligation under Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-56c. More importantly, however, the Court held that Section 46b-56c contains no language authorizing retroactive application, pointing out that various provisions contained within the statute suggest that it is intended to apply prospectively only. In a footnote, the Court further explained that child support orders cannot be retroactive, and an order for post-majority educational support is in fact an order for child support for college education.
Should you have any questions regarding educational support in the context of divorce proceedings, please feel free to contact Attorney Michael D. DeMeola. He practices out of the firm’s Westport office and can be reached by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.