Happy young man with his father on graduation day

Divorce can be a costly process, both emotionally and financially. When parents decide to go their separate ways, they often face various financial issues, including concerns about their children’s future. One of the most common questions is whether parents are responsible for contributing to their child’s college education expenses. Attending college is an essential step in a young person’s life. However, pursuing a higher education is incredibly expensive. Please continue reading to learn what child support covers in New Jersey and why connecting with our knowledgeable Monmouth County Child Support Attorneys is in your best interest. 

Is My Ex-Spouse Obligated to Help Pay for Our Child’s College Education?

Following a divorce or separation, it’s crucial to understand each parent’s obligations to financially support their children. In New York, parents are obligated to provide for their children until they reach the age of emancipation. As such, the court typically requires the non-custodial parent to pay child support to cover their child’s basic needs.

Many parents mistakenly assume their financial responsibility towards their children ends with a periodic payment to their ex-spouse. However, it’s important to understand that as long as a child wishes to enroll and is accepted into a college, the court has the discretion to order a parent to contribute to their child’s education as long as they can afford to do so. This is primarily because the courts recognize the importance of a college education and consider attending college to be in their best interests. Essentially, they believe that a divorce or separation should not deprive a child of pursuing a higher education.

What Factors Influence This Decision?

When college education expenses wind up in court, a judge will evaluate a parent’s contribution toward the cost of higher education by weighing the following factors:

  • Whether the parent would have contributed toward the costs of the pursuit of higher education if the divorce or separation had not occurred
  • The ability of the parent to pay the cost
  • The financial resources of both parties
  • The amount of financial contribution sought by the child for higher education
  • The ability of the child to work while pursuing a higher education
  • The child’s relationship with the paying parents
  • The commitment of the child to succeed in their higher education

If you’re facing an issue regarding child support, contact Paone Zaleski & Murphy. They can help ensure that your divorce settlement agreement contains language that addresses college decisions and payments.