Frequently Asked Questions on Paying a Child’s Tuition After Divorce
If you’re going through a divorce and have children who are either attending or preparing to enter college, you might wonder how you will handle tuition and other college-related expenses in your post-divorce life. The following are answers to a few of the most common questions we receive on this issue:
Q: Are divorced parents obligated to pay for their child’s college education?
Child support payments stop at the age of emancipation, which is 18 years old. This means there is no obligation for divorced parents to pay for their child’s college education. In fact, no parents — married or divorced — have to pay for their child’s education at all.
Q: Can financial support for college costs be included in a divorce settlement?
Yes. In fact, this is the best way to get the financial support you need for paying college-related costs if you get divorced. You may then put these funds into an escrow or trust account to ensure their availability when needed or simply get a lump sum payment upfront.
Q: If I do make a college support agreement, what should it cover?
A college support agreement will include the percentage of expenses each parent will be responsible for, any limits on these payments, restrictions or conditions about the college (or type of college) the child would attend, which specific expenses will be covered and any other financial considerations. These details will typically require a lot of individual negotiations.
Q: Does custody play a role in responsibility for college expenses?
If there is split custody, the calculations will become a bit more complicated. In general, the courts wish to create arrangements that avoid one parent being unfairly burdened with college costs. A judge may consider factors such as each parent’s income, tuition expenses, childcare costs and any scholarships the child earned.
For further guidance on the details of your divorce, meet with an experienced Long Island family law attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.