Friday, December 15, 2017

The perils of parents and paying for college

Q: My daughter is in her last year of college. With finances tight, it has been a family economic concern getting her through. I just found out that my wife has given her blessing for our daughter to become an escort to men who, as it was explained, is only for dinner and legitimate social events that will pay extremely well. I have a hard time believing this, much less stomaching the whole idea. Are there really legitimate escorts? I'm figuring rich men probably are seeking more than a dinner date.

A: The Obama administration just issued suggestions for Congress to consider about how to relieve the crushing burden of student debt. Fortunately, no one is suggesting the Sugar Daddy Education Relief Act of 2014. I share your stomach-dropping concern about the idea that your daughter would be a dinner companion to men who want to pay for the pleasure of her company. That is skin-crawling enough, but I agree that a meal is likely the opening wedge to more lucrative and intimate encounters. But even if her old-enough-to-be-her-father companions behaved as gentlemen, learning how to exchange her loveliness for money does not seem like the kind of lesson she should be focusing on in her senior year. You need to discuss your options with the school's financial aid office. And you and your wife need to have some private talks about what you want for your girl and presenting a united front.

Daughter's duplicitous dad

I graduated from law school several years ago and it was the biggest mistake of my life. I had allowed my parents to persuade me of their dream for me — becoming an attorney. I was miserable and filed the necessary paperwork to leave. My father told me that if I completed law school, he would pay all the loans I took out. I believed him because he had paid for college. I resumed classes and upon graduation, my father said that he lied to me to get me to finish school and that I was on my own. He stated that there was nothing I could do because there was no contract and no witnesses. I am disgusted that he is so smug at deceiving me. I now have twice the debt I would have if I had I left school. How do I get over this betrayal?

I ignored my own father's advice that I go to law school, so to find out what legal recourse you may have, I contacted Randy Barnett, a contracts professor at Georgetown Law. Because you failed to get this agreement in writing, Barnett says your father would be correct that you have no claim. But Barnett adds that if you have, say, an email trail with your father documenting that he offered to pick up the tab in return for your sticking it out, you might be have grounds to initiate a breach of contract suit. I know that suing your own father is not likely to improve your relationship with him, but it certainly would impress upon him that you indeed are able to find a practical use for your law degree. Barnett also suggested that a threat of a suit, which would require your father to hire a lawyer, might be enough to shake out some of that money he promised you. — Slate.com

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