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New Jersey Father Ordered To Pay Half Of Estranged Daughter’s Law School Tuition

A New Jersey father has to pay half of his daughter’s $225,000 law school tuition, a two-judge appellate panel has ruled.

James Livingston, a Rutgers University history professor, is required to pay $112,500 of his daughter’s law school education at Cornell Law School, the Daily Mail reports.

Livingston agreed to pay half of his daughter’s law school bills back in 2009 if she earned at least a C average.

This was part of the settlement Livingston agreed to when he divorced his wife of 26 years, Patricia Rossi, the New York Daily News reports.

Livingston’s daughter got a job after graduating from Rutgers in 2009, before being accepted to a number of law schools in 2012.

When she chose to apply to Cornell, Livingston’s 26-year-old daughter asked her dad to pay half of the education tuition.

Livingston responded with a counteroffer, saying that he would pay $7,500 if his daughter lived locally with her mother and attended Rutgers Law School instead.

In 2012, Rossi filed a lawsuit against Livingston and won the case. The judge ordered the father to pay the money. Livingston appealed, saying that his daughter’s time off from school, their estrangement, and how he was not allowed to help her make a decision about which law school to attend made him exempt from the clause in the divorce.

“Father argues that the divorce agreement should be interpreted to include two implied terms: first, that he would have a good relationship with his daughter, and second, that he would be involved in making the decision of which school she would attend,” Judges Joseph Yannotti and Victor Ashrafi wrote in their ruling, according to the Daily News. “We reject this argument, as did Judge Weisberg.”

“I was expecting [the decision] based on the tenor of the oral arguments,” Daniel H. Brown, the attorney for Rossi, told The Star-Ledger. “You could read the tea leaves. The parties negotiated the settlement as to what their respective obligations would be. The parties can agree to support the child and that’s exactly what occurred here.”


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