Dad Dragged for Refusing To Pay College Fees for 'Disrespectful' Daughter

A post on Reddit, which has gone viral with more than 15,000 likes, has shown the difficult ethical dilemmas among stepfamilies that don't get along.

In the post, 38-year-old user torridpa explains how he is withholding financial help for his 19-year-old daughter, Ariel, to go to college because she makes no effort with his wife and son.

The dad writes how, after having Ariel very young with his first wife, they separated when their daughter was 2 years old after a friend of his wife revealed to him that she was messaging other people. He then married that friend four years later, and they now have a 13-year-old son.

father daughter argument
A stock image of a father-daughter argument. A dad has been criticized online for refusing to pay his daughter's college fees, unless she gets on with his new family. Getty Images

The dad describes how the deal was that he and his first wife would split the cost of Ariel's college fees. However, her behavior towards his family has made him change his mind.

"She excludes them," the father writes, "Whenever she spends the night she will just talk to me or go to her room if my family was around. Our son walks to the basement if she comes over. It hurts me a lot... Ariel is plain rude to them and they are done trying."

Advice website Divorced Mums says that a rude stepchild can cause resentment and tensions and affect the parent's new marriage.

"While it is not expected that a child will fall immediately in love with their stepparent, they must know that they are not allowed to be disrespectful," Divorced Mums writes. "You must not allow insulting or rude behaviors to become entrenched. Instant love is most often a myth. However, respect is a way of life."

Describing a recent situation, the dad writes, "Ariel graduated from HS in may and hosted a party. I was invited but my family wasn't. I told Ariel I found that disrespectful.

"So I'd send a card but wouldn't be going. She didn't care and we haven't spoken since. I get a call from Lauren saying she paid the first semester and was wondering when I'd be paying. I said I was no longer paying. As I'm not pulling money out of my household, when Ariel is disrespectful to 2/3rds of it."

The father offered his daughter a deal. "I would pay for college if she at least tried to form a bond with my family because she created this situation with her attitude," he writes on Reddit.

"So if she wants my help, she needs to attempt it. She started crying. But I didn't fall for it. Told her what my expectations were and to let me know what her plan is so I can move the money around. My wife is on my side here. Saying we've been the bad guys for long enough."

Father and daughter
A stock image of a father arguing with his daughter. A Reddit user says he will not pay the college fees for his child because she has been "cold" to his new family. Getty Images

Some users in the Reddit comments said that withholding financial support for something as important as college is not an appropriate response to the situation.

User Mackheath1 wrote: "I'm in agreement, the only teenie-tiny thing exception: But I would pay for college if she at least tried to form a bond with my family because she created this situation with her attitude.

"Paying money for 'love' or withholding money for not is never successful and kinda abusive. The only thing that can come out of that is Ariel pretending to enjoy them for the minimum time for $. NTA [not the a**hole] but also look at that one part very closely."

Another user agreed, writing: "Also look at the part where he waited until last minute so she basically wouldn't have a choice."

Law firm Einhorn, Barbarito, Frost & Botwinick, based in Denville, New Jersey, suggests that, in that state, separated parents may be legally obligated to pay their children's college fees.

"Many would argue that to make divorced parents pay for college, when intact families can decide to not pay for their children's college education costs, is unconstitutional (i.e., certain parents are being treated differently than other parents).

"But New Jersey takes the position that divorced parents, if they have the means (as well as other factors it considers), may be obligated to pay for the college education of their children."

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Washington all have laws or case studies that offer courts the authority to order a non-custodial parent to pay some form of college expenses.

The lawyer at Einhorn, Barbarito, Frost & Botwinick said: "Even in states that do not require divorced parents to pay for college, and even if all support for children stops at graduation from high school or age 18, if the parents have made an agreement to pay for their children's college expenses, those terms would be enforced."