Am I Obligated to Pay for My Child’s College Tuition?
One of the most common questions that people will ask during a divorce is, “Am I obligated to pay for my child’s college tuition?” Child support is one of the most complex aspects of the divorce process, both legally and emotionally. The best thing to do would be to consult with an experienced family law attorney to get all the complexities sorted out.
Am I Obligated to Pay for My Child’s College Tuition? | Child Support
If a judgment of divorce is silent as to college expenses for one’s child or children, the parent may want to consider going to family court, filing a modification petition, and requesting that the judge require the parent’s ex-spouse or the other parent of the child to pay for college expenses. The key is demonstrating a recent and substantial change in circumstances, such as the sudden effect that college tuition and student loan repayment will have on the parent’s expenses.
The parent should make sure to inform the judge that the child has not yet gone to college but will matriculate in the near future. If the child is currently in college, however, the late filing date of the petition will prove a risk. From the date that the petition is filed, the judge may make an award from that day forward. This ruling will not necessarily result in reimbursement for any college semesters already completed; it will apply only to any tuition expenses that are incurred due to enrollment after the date of the ruling.
Am I Obligated to Pay for My Child’s College Tuition? | Non-Custodial Obligations
In addition to a basic child support obligation, a parent may be required to contribute towards college expenses. Even when an agreement is silent, it would require a modification petition or even just a petition for college expenses to be filed. This can be done in family court. The court will make a determination as to whether or not a contribution is required by considering the educational background of the parties, the aptitude of the child, and the financial circumstances of each of you.
Some things to consider when you are in the court and you are possibly required to contribute to college, the possibility of setting a cap on the amount of tuition you may pay. Oftentimes, you will see this done by establishing a cap based upon SUNY tuition, here in New York. The other thing that would be considered is whether or not the basic child support obligation, which includes shelter expenses, should be reduced as a result of room and board expenses that you would now be contributing to.
If you are having problems related to child support and college tuition, please contact our experienced Saratoga child support lawyers today.