Do I have to pay for my child’s college after divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2022 | Divorce |

The length of time you pay child support for your child will depend on your case, but did you know that you may end up being obligated to pay a portion of their college expenses? If your child goes to college and is under the appropriate age to qualify for support, you may be on the hook for their education.

In New Jersey, your child’s child support obligation doesn’t automatically end when they turn 18. It may continue until your child is finished with college in some cases. It may also end when your child becomes financially independent if that’s sooner than the age of 18.

If your child plans to go to college, this is something you should discuss with the other parent. It may be appropriate to work out a plan for supporting your child through college. You may also both agree that you will end payments at the age of 18 and that your child will not have support to go to college, depending on their education and plans for the future.

What will you have to pay if you agree to cover part of your child’s college costs?

Everyone’s situation is different, but you and the other parent need to discuss what the expectations are in college. For example, you may say that you’ll cover half of the expenses (and that the other parent will fulfill the rest) but still ask that your child competes applications for scholarships or other financial supports.

Generally speaking, the courts do like to see parents who are willing to support their children through college, but that is not always appropriate. Since child support is based on factors like your earnings, the other parent’s income, your child’s health and others, it’s a good idea to have a discussion about your plans for paying for college (or not) and how your child’s future education will be covered if they attend school.

If you do not want to pay past the age of 18, you can also look into asking the court to terminate your support payments, or, in some cases, adjust them to be as low as possible.