Whether your children attend private schools, public universities or community colleges, a college education is expensive. As a divorced or single parent in the state of New Jersey, you may assume that you have the right to refuse to pay college tuition or child support beyond age 18. However, New Jersey courts are increasingly likely to require parents to contribute to the cost of a college education.
At the New Jersey law offices of Green & Associates, we offer sound legal advice about college tuition and child support to divorced or single parents with college-age children. Whether you are seeking to have your child's other parent share in your child's college expenses or are disputing a financial request, we can help.
We can explain your legal options and advocate powerfully for your interests.
In New Jersey, college tuition and child support during the college years are not automatically included as part of child support obligations. While the amount of basic child support to be paid is determined under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, college tuition and child support beyond age 18 are not. The determination of the contribution that will be required, if any, is made by another method.
Each parent's responsibility for college tuition and child support for children over 18 may have been addressed in your divorce decree or child support order. If it was not, the issue can be handled through negotiation or family mediation. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, the issue will be determined by a judge in a child support modification hearing.
Many factors are used to determine whether a parent is responsible for contributing. These factors can include:
The amount of the contribution being sought and the parent's ability to meet that contribution
The financial resources of the other parent
The child's own financial resources or ability to earn money during school
Whether scholarships or grants are available for the child
The academic ability of the child, the reasonableness of the child's expectation to attend college, the child's commitment to and aptitude for the program, and whether the program meets the child's long-term goals
The relationship between the child and both parents
During a divorce, it is a good idea to address the issues of college tuition and child support beyond age 18 in your original divorce decree and support agreement. However, with everything else that takes place during the divorce process, planning for college expenses is often overlooked and must be addressed at a later date.
It is best to begin considering your financial options as soon as possible. Waiting until a child is ready to begin classes seldom works out well. It can take months to negotiate child support and college tuition agreement that works for all parties involved.
Whether you are seeking college tuition and continuing child support from your child's other parent or you are responding to such a request, we can help. Our goal is to protect your interests along with those of your children. Contact Green & Associates to arrange a consultation at our East Brunswick or Fort Lee law offices. Evening and weekend appointments are available.