Page 7 - The Suffolk Lawyer - December 2020 - Vol. 35, No. 8
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THE SUFFOLK LAWYER - December 2020                                                      7


        Tappa Tappa Kegga: Directing Parties to Pay For College

        By Vesselin Mitev                      Each retain counsel to draft                 Dad’s  counsel,  after  now  having  ly objected to. Notably, the Spinner court also
                                              what should be a straightforward            developed an Excedrin-level head-  pointed out that a SUNY cap is not required,
          The marriage is over, and two relatively  agreement, but after a series of      ache, decides that rather than con-  as long as such an imposition would not be an
        high-earning, early 30s people decide to call  unreturned phone calls, counsel    tinue arguing with what appears to  improvident exercise of discretion.
        it  quits  less  than  18  months  after  they  both  reluctantly  fi les  for  a  PC  order.   be a brick wall, to research the issue.   As to extra-curriculars, the old saw that
        said till death do us part. There is one child,  At the appointed date and time,   Luckily, the Second Department, in  there is no statutory requirement to pay same

        9 months of age, no issues, thank God, and  Mom’s attorney advises all in at-     Spinner v. Spinner, Nov. 4, 2020, pro-  appears at first blush to have all been extin-
        the standard assortment of a mortgaged home  tendance that his client will abso-  vides almost immediate respite. The  guished by Second Department canon; in Spin-

        with some equity, retirement accounts that  lutely not sign any agreement that   veSSeLin mitev  second issue first (college expenses).  ner, citing to 3 other cases, the court found that
        would cost more to value and divide than for  does not provide for: extra-curric-  Much pearls are clutched in the name  the trial court properly directed the plaintiff to
        each to just keep their own, and of course, a  ulars to be paid up to $10,000.00 a year, per  of higher secondary education (although its  pay “92 % of the costs of the children’s extra-
        relatively harmonious self-imposed  liberal  year; and directing that the parties provide pro  benefi ts are debatable, in this day and age, at  curricular activities, including summer camp,
        visitation schedule to Dad, with Mom being  rata to the 9-month-old’s presumed college at-  best) but when the child or children are young,  up to a maximum of $15,000 per year.”
        the “residential” custodian.          tendance (uncapped at SUNY rates).   this appears to be an obligation incurred rather   However, in each of the cited cases (includ-
                                                                                   than an investment in an asset.       ing Spinner) the only issue was summer camp,
                                                                                     In Spinner, the child was 14, “and no evi-  which was considered an expense insofar as it
                                                                                   dence was presented concerning her academ-  was part of child care. None of the cited cas-
                                                                                   ic ability, interest in attending college, choice  es expanded beyond that, whatsoever and it’s
                                                                                   of college, or the expenses attendant with col-  my opinion that until the legislature changes
                                                                                   lege. Accordingly, it was premature for the  the DRL, extracurriculars should be negotiat-
                                                                                   court to direct the plaintiff to contribute to the  ed but if not agreed to, there is nothing in the
                                                                                   college expenses of the parties’ younger child  law that says a parent has to pay same.
                                                                                   (see Repetti v Repetti, 147 AD3d at 1097; Fe-  In sum, Spinner stands for the ironic prop-
                                                                                   lix v Felix, 87 AD3d at 1108).” The Second  osition that you may be ordered to pay for
                                                                                   Department held it was an error to direct the  your kid to join a frat house, but not to attend
                                                                                   plaintiff to contribute to the college expens-  the college.
                                                                                   es of the parties’ children, as a directive that
                                                                                   was “premature and not supported by the evi-  Note: Vesselin Mitev is a partner in
                                                                                   dence” citing also Bogannam v Bogannam, 60  Mitev Law, PC, a New York litigation bou-
                                                                                   AD3d 985.                             tique in historic Stony Brook village. His
                                                                                     Of course, in the case at bar, a 9-month-old’s  practice is 100 % devoted to litigation, in-
                                                                                   choice of college is necessarily inherently pre-  cluding trial, of all matters including crim-
                                                                                   mature and any insistence upon an agreement  inal, matrimonial/family law,  Article 78
                                                                                   containing a college clause would be proper-  proceedings and appeals.

                      SIDNEY SIBEN’S AMONG US
         We Say Good-Bye to One of Our Own                                                 Tax Defense & Litigation

           Michael Colavecchio, SCBA long-time  of our Negligence Defense Committee.
         active member, and partner at Lewis Johs   To all of us in the legal community Mi-
         firm, passed away on November 10, 2020.  chael was and always will be our ideal. The

           Born in 1965, Michael was a deeply re-  example he set will long continue to influ-

         spected colleague at his law firm, where he  ence and inspire us.

         served as a trial attorney and partner of 23   A family man, Michael leaves behind
         years. He combined his charm with an un-  his wife Laura, and two children, Grace
         limited energy and the highest integrity. His  and Matthew, who were the absolute light
         genial personality and the generous instincts  of his life.

         of this fine man will be missed by his friends   On  behalf  of  our  officers,  directors,
         and colleagues. He served as a lecturer for  members and staff, we extend our heart-
         the Suffolk Academy of Law, a member of  felt sympathy.
         the Judicial Screening Committee and chair                     ~ LaCova
           Achievements, &                     Long-time  member  Joseph A.  Miller’s
              Accolades…                      mother, Frances Lynn Miller, died on Nov. 6,
                                              in Overland Park, Kansas.
          Edward J. Nitkewicz, of Ajlouny & Asso-                                             Harold C. Seligman has been a member of the
        ciates, an 11 year member of the South Hun-  New Members…
        tington School Board and an advocate for   The SCBA extends a warm welcome its              United States Tax Court since 1987.
        children with special need, has been honored   newest members:  Lisa A. Baker, Ralph J.   He has represented individual and corporate clients
        as the 2020 New York State School Board’s   Bavaro, Karen Copeland, Mario D’An-       in hundreds of tax cases, both large and small,
        Association President’s  Award.  The Presi-  gelo, Eric Dubinsky, Judith B. Engelberg,   over the past 30 years against the IRS and New York
        dent’s Award recognizes individuals or or-  Florence M. Fass, Joseph J. Ferrante, Lin-  State Department of Taxation and Finance.
        ganizations that have made significant con-  da Filosa, Melanie Mandery, Heather Mc-

        tributions toward the betterment of Public   Gee, James A. Pascarella, Robert M. Pres-
        Education in New York State.          ton and Peter L. Vladimir.                     Long Tuminello, LLP
        Condolences…                           The SCBA also welcomes its newest stu-
          Cliff  Petroske’s  mother, Joan  Schul-  dent members and wishes them success in                    120 Fourth Avenue
        tz Petroske, died peacefully at her home in   their progress towards a career in the law:        Bay Shore, New York 11706
        Stony Brook Nov. 22. She was 89 years old.  Felicia Gaon                                                (631) 666-2500

         Inclusion in Among Us                                                           
           Do you have some news that you would like to share with your colleagues? Send your announce-
         ments to Jane LaCova, the executive director of the Suffolk County Bar Association for publication
         in The Suffolk Lawyer.
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