Friday, April 11, 2014

Drescher v. Gross (Cal. Ct. App. - April 11, 2014)

There's often something interesting when two attorneys fight out a divorce case in the Court of Appeal.  In this one, fortunately, there's not (seemingly) utter rancor.  But there is a dispute.  Thirteen years ago, when they divorced, the parties agreed to split the cost of college for their three kids.  Fair enough.

It's now time for their daughter to attend college.  She's going to the University of Missouri.  Prompting fights on both sides about (1) whether the agreement only requires Daddy to pay half of what it would cost for his daughter to enroll in a California school (not Mizzou), and (2) whether Mommy can get out of the deal by showing that she makes a lot less nowadays than Daddy.

I'll let you read the opinion itself to figure out how this particular case works out.  But I'll nonetheless note the resulting legal rule:  (1) parties can, if they want, structure a "college support" deal during dissolution disputes that's not subject to subsequent modification by the trial court for "changed circumstances" (unlike support for a minor child), but (2) they better be pretty careful about how they write this agreement, otherwise it'll be subject to modification.

P.S. - There are actually a lot of related attorneys involved in this case.  Mother is (former) attorney Lenore Drescher.  Represented by L.A. attorney Robert Drescher.  (Note the last names.)  Father is L.A. attorney Mark P. Gross.  Who, according to his firm bio, "has over 20 years family law experience," as well as a ton of accolades in the area.  But even he didn't write his own agreement in a way that would preclude trial court modification for changed circumstances.  Oops.  He's represented by the law firm of Brot & Gross.  (Note the last name.)

Lawyers, lawyers everywhere.

Only time will tell whether their daughter majors in prelaw at Mizzou.  Though my money's on her looking to some other professional field.