The nation has been focused on a case in New Jersey involving an eighteen-year-old student, Rachel Canning, seeking support from her parents in the form of her high school tuition and her future college costs. The case has raised substantial issues regarding parents’ responsibility to support their adult children after they move out of their parents’ home. The case also brings into focus the distinction that the law of New Jersey seems to make between the responsibility of those parents who are still married and those that have divorced. A parent’s responsibility towards their child’s college education is almost always addressed as part of a divorce settlement agreement. Parents acknowledge their obligation to contribute towards their children’s college expenses in proportion with their respective incomes when the time comes for them to actually attend college.
There is no such obligation for parents to contribute to college when those parents are still married and residing together as an intact family unit. Rachel Canning’s case raises numerous questions with regard to whether those children of still married parents are, therefore, at a greater disadvantage when it comes to college costs than the children of divorced parents.
If you have questions with regard to your responsibilities towards your children’s education, be sure to consult with an attorney to understand both your rights and those of your children. [Posted by Jenny Birz, Esq.]