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.
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There is no simple rule for calculating child support. In New York, the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) provides a step-by-step formula used in every court in the state to determine how child support will be allotted. Still, judges have considerable discretion, especially with regards to upper-income families and families with special needs.
Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., is a New York family law and divorce attorney in Albany, Saratoga, and the surrounding areas. For more than 20 years, Jean has maintained her capital region law firm, located on Route 9 in Clifton Park, New York. The practice encompasses all areas of family and matrimonial law, and an online uncontested divorce service.