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

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

college graduate sitting on steps

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

If you are paying child support, you may expect your obligation to end when your child reaches the age of majority, 19 years old in New Jersey. However, you can still be ordered to support them by a family court judge if they decide to continue schooling. You will be asked to pay for a portion of college expenses, but there are some limitations to what the court can make you do. You should talk to our Chatham child support attorneys if you want to learn more.

What Factors Will a Judge Consider Before Making a Parent Pay For College Expenses?

The judge will usually consider a few different matters before they order a noncustodial parent to pay a portion of college expenses. They can evaluate:

  • If a parent would have paid those expenses had they continued living with their child
  • The financial situation of both parents
  • What kinds of financial resources are available to the child
  • The ability of the child to earn an income during the school year or on breaks
  • The availability of financial aid, like grants or loans
  • The child’s relationship to the parent being ordered to pay for college expenses

What Kinds of College Expenses Will a Parent Be Expected to Pay?

A parent can be expected to pay for all kinds of college expenses, including the student’s living expenses while they are away at school. They could be ordered to pay a portion of the tuition, room and board costs, and other fees as well. There are often some limits put into place though, even as college expenses continue to rise.

Are There Any Limits On College Expenses a Parent Can Be Ordered to Pay For?

In some cases, a parent can be ordered to pay a portion of college expenses, but not the entire cost or even half of the cost, which would seem like their fair portion on paper. Because the cost of college can vary so widely, the court will often limit a parent’s contribution based on the cost of a New Jersey state university. So if your child attends an expensive private school, you may not be on the hook for the entire cost.

How Long Will a Parent Need to Cover These Costs?

Generally, a parent will be responsible for college expenses until a child turns 23 years old. There are usually rules about the child staying enrolled full-time or keeping their grades above a certain level too.

What If My Ex and I Made a Deal About College Costs Already?

You are also welcome to make a deal about college costs before any judge steps in to do it for you. You, your ex, and your lawyers can negotiate your own agreement and submit it to the courts for approval.

Meet With an Experienced Family Attorney

If you have questions about your obligations, you may want to speak to an experienced family attorney. Contact Lazor Rantas, PC and ask to schedule a consultation today.

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