Court Nixes Contract: Dad Can Stop Paying Adult Kids’ Expenses

Photo (cc) by Jack W. Pearce

Enough is enough. That was the ruling of a Long Island judge, who recently tossed out a marriage contract that required a New York pharmacy owner to write monthly checks totaling $3,800 to bankroll living expenses for his adult children, The New York Post reports.

In 2010, Jeffrey Liberman helped subsidize the expenses of his Ivy League-educated son (Jason) and daughter (Jillian), who were both living at home. It was an effort to “assist them in getting on their feet and becoming financially independent,” the court ruling said.

Now fast-forward to 2015: both adult children are employed and living on their own, but Liberman is still writing them monthly checks for $1,900 each.

Say what?

According to the Post, Liberman signed an agreement in 2014 with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Julie Liberman, that locked him into continued monthly payments to his adult children.

The contract said Jeffrey had to hand over the combined $3,800-a-month until their children turned 30, married or moved in with a romantic partner. In exchange Julie promised to try and work on undisclosed marital problems [with] her husband, but she filed for divorce anyway last year.

After his wife filed for divorce, Liberman responded by yanking his kids’ monthly payments and issuing them each a lump sum check for $10,000, the Post said.

[Julie] Liberman took her ex to court for reneging on the deal, but Justice Sharon Gianelli sided with the father, calling the agreement “one-sided, invalid and unenforceable.” Gianelli noted that both adult children are “gainfully employed and that Liberman already shouldered the cost of his children’s University of Pennsylvania and Princeton educations, the Post explained.

The father’s lawyer, Evan Schein, said his client has a “good relationship with his children,” but decided it was time for them to grow up.

“He did support them throughout their lives, but he did want them to be independent and he did feel like it was time,” Schein said.

Randall Kessler, a family law attorney and author of “Divorce: Protect Yourself, Your Kids and Your Future,” told Yahoo Parenting that he was surprised by judge’s ruling to throw out the contract made between Julie and Jeffrey Liberman.

“These are two adults who made a decision, they reached an agreement — who is the judge to say, ‘You didn’t know what you are doing’?” Kessler says. “The parents are the people who know the kids best, they reached an agreement, why not enforce it?”

What do you think about parents subsidizing their adult children’s expenses? Was the judge right in this case? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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