College Expenses After Divorce

Parents spend a lot of time helping their children plan for their future, and taking the steps necessary to achieve their goals and dreams.  For many children, this will include a college education.  College is expensive, even when children choose to attend an in-state school.  Tuition, housing, books, lab fees, and other costs can easily tally into the tens of thousands of dollars.  In the optimal situation, parents will have been saving to help their children defray these costs.  However, in cases where the parents have divorced, saving for college may have been more challenging for one of the parties.  New Jersey is one of the small handful of states that specifically recognizes the importance of a college education by providing a method through which a parent may seek to have the other parent help pay for college following divorce or separation.

New Jersey law provides that, in general, if parents are financially capable of doing so, they should contribute to their children’s higher education.  When one parent brings a suit to require the other parent to contribute to these expenses, the court will look at a list of twelve factors to determine if it is appropriate to enter an order requiring that parent to help pay for the parties’ child’s college education.  These factors include such considerations as:

  • The parent’s ability to financially contribute to college costs;
  • The amount of contribution requested;
  • The financial resources of both parents and of the child;
  • The ability of the child to earn his or her own income during school breaks or during the school year;
  • Financial aid or scholarships the child has been awarded; and
  • The nature of the relationship between the parent and child, including mutual affection and whether the child has been responsive to parental advice and guidance in the past.

Although many of these factors are subjective, the strong trend is to order parents to contribute to college education expenses when the parent is financially able to do so.  If one party requests that the other parent help pay for college, the court will set a hearing, where both parties will need to produce evidence of income and assets.  Both parents will be able to testify, and thereafter, the court will make a decision about whether the parents will be required to contribute, and in what amount.

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If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities about supporting your child during college, contact us today.  We have helped many clients understand this area of law.

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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