The thought of paying for your child’s college education may very well have entered your mind shortly after his or her birth. While you were still married, you and your spouse may have together decided to fully or partially fund your child’s college costs. Or maybe together you decided not to pay for it at all. However, once you get divorced, unless you and your ex are on the same page, the decision whether to pay for your child’s college tuition is not always left up to you to decide. Oftentimes, the issue of college contribution can be resolved in a Settlement Agreement. Sometimes, however, that is not the case and then we have to look to the relevant case law.
- Whether the parent, if they were still living with the child, would have contributed toward the cost of the required higher education;
- The effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the child’s expectation for higher education;
- The amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education;
- The ability of the parent to pay;
- The relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;
- The financial resources of all parties;
- The commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;
- The financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust;
- The ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation;
- The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans;
- The child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and
- The relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long range goals of the child.
Again, this list does not equate to a definite answer to any of the questions you may have about your obligation to take part in the cost of your child’s higher education. There are a lot of factors to address and circumstances to consider. If you are seeking guidance on the subject, whether you are the one being asked to contribute or you are the one seeking contribution, please feel free to contact this office.
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Before going forward with any divorce, even if you think that it is uncontested or if you have any questions, please contact this office.