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Can a Judge Order a Parent To Pay For College Costs?

When you are a noncustodial parent, you know that you’ll have to pay child support until your child is legally considered an adult. What happens if they go to school for a bachelor’s degree though? Do you have to pay for college costs as well? A court can order you to pay some of these expenses, but there are some limits. Our Morris County, NJ child support attorneys can tell you more.

Which College Costs Can a Parent Be Asked to Cover?

You can be ordered to pay all sorts of college costs and related expenses. Usually a parent can be asked to pay for a percentage of:

  • Tuition costs
  • Room and board fees
  • Application fees
  • Transportation costs
  • The student’s living expenses

What Will Be Considered Before Asking a Parent to Pay College Costs?

The court will also have to consider a few matters before they order a parent to pay college costs for their child. Some things that could be examined include:

  • Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the cost of the requested higher education
  • The amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education
  • The ability of the parent to pay that cost
  • The child’s current relationship with the parent being asked to pay
  • How committed the child is to education and how their selected program synchronizes with their long-term goals
  • The financial resources of the child
  • The ability of the child to work and earn income during the school year or when on break
  • The availability of financial aid

Are There Limitations on Such Orders?

College is likely to be a big expense no matter which school your child chooses, and the court does understand that. This is why there are usually limits on how much a judge can order a parent to pay. In some cases, the noncustodial parent could be ordered to contribute to college costs based on the current rates charged by New Jersey state universities.

There is also usually a requirement for the student to secure all scholarships, grants, and aid that they can. There could also be rules about staying enrolled full-time, keeping their GPA above a certain threshold, or keeping a part-time job while enrolled in classes.

Can Parents Make Arrangements Concerning College Costs During a Divorce?

You can also decide that you do not want to wait for the court to make a decision about this. You and your spouse can make an agreement about college costs on your own. Then you can submit your plan to the court for approval.

Schedule Your Consultation With Our Team

If you have questions about college costs and who could be responsible for them, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark. We can tell you more about your obligations and what the legal system can compel you to do.