Dana Soderberg has been award $47,000 from her father by Connecticut to cover her college tuition and other expenses incurred during her final year at Southern Connecticut State University. According to the Connecticut Law Tribune, Ms. Soderberg sued her father to uphold a written contract he signed after her parents divorced in 2004. The contract stated that her father, Howard Soderberg, would pay for her tuition until she turned 25, in addition to related expenses like books and car insurance. When he refused to pay for her final year, Ms. Soderberg was forced to take out a $20,000 loan to continue her studies, with her mother co-signing.
In court, Ms. Soderberg’s father claimed that he refused to pay the tuition because she breached their agreement by dropping classes, pocketed the the refunds and was unable to provide sufficient receipts.
Ms. Soderberg’s laywer countered, arguing that she had to drop the classes due to the lateness of his payments. Attorney Renee Berman, who represented Ms. Soderberg, was struck by her father’s lack of emotions. “They just don’t have a relationship,” Berman commented. “It has to be weak to begin with if you enter into that agreement.”
It does not look like the case will open a landslide of similar cases. Few parents enter into written agreements with their children, nor take their family disputes to such an extreme. “I think it’s a very unique situation,” said Berman.