College and Child Support

Any parent can tell you that raising children can be very expensive.  As a result, child support often becomes the crux of family law cases.  Parents spend a lot of time trying to figure out and settle on the correct number for child support.  This is true even though New Jersey uses a specific calculation to determine the appropriate amount.  While many people believe that child support automatically ends when the child turns eighteen, this is not true in New Jersey.  In fact, New Jersey is one of the few states that requires a parent’s financial obligation to continue even when the child has entered college.

A college education is often essential to a child’s chances of a successful career.  In Newburgh v. Arrigo, the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that a child’s right to financial support from his or her parents includes a “necessary education” after high school.  This necessary education can include both vocational school and traditional college.  In the Newburgh case, the court set out a list of factors to be considered when determining whether a parent paying child support should continue to pay support when the child is in college.  There are twelve factors, but they include considerations such as:

  • Each parent’s financial resources;
  • Amount of the financial contribution requested;
  • Whether each parent has the ability to contribute to the costs;
  • The commitment and aptitude of the child to successfully complete that course of study;
  • Whether the child has any award of financial aid.

The big takeaway from this list and the other factors is that if a parent is not financially well-off, the court will not automatically order a parent to absorb all of the costs of an expensive private college education.  This is especially true if the child has shown he or she struggles in that field in the past.  For example, if the child is being pressured into a pre-med program by an ambitious parent, but the child has made only passing grades in science class through high school, the court may determine the child is not likely to successfully pass a pre-med course in college and therefore is less likely to order a parent to help with those college courses.

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Contact us today and talk to us about your financial obligation to your child.  We can help you understand your rights and responsibility.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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