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If my child is going to college, do I still owe child support?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2016 | Family Law

This is a complicated question that is highly fact-dependent. Continued child support depends on your child’s academic achievement; if college is a realistic option. It depends on your and your spouse’s success. Is your child expected to follow in your footsteps? Did you always expect him or her to go to college, to become a doctor or a lawyer? These are just some of the factors the court will examine to determine if you must pay child support through college and post-secondary school.

When determining how much to award, the court considers your financial situation and your child’s. The court will consider your income, the feasibility of continued support and other factors. Additionally, the court will examine the financial independence of your child. Specifically, scholarships, grants and financial aid received. It will then compare the income your child earns with the standard of living your child is accustomed to and his or her education expenses. Your support payments will help make up the difference between the two numbers.

But, what happens if your child attends a very expensive private university? Do you owe child support for $45,000 a year for an undergraduate degree? Again, this depends on if there were comparable public universities in the area and the expectations for your child. In such a case, the court may look at a variety of factors before deciding if the child should be granted aid for the more expensive tuition.

You may want to speak with a family law attorney if this is happening to you. How long you owe this obligation depends largely on your family’s situation. If your child was expected to go all the way and become a Ph.D., it’s possible you could owe support up until their thesis.

If your child support payments are being revised, then you may want to speak to a lawyer. Determining child support can either be amicable or contentious. It depends upon the relationship you maintain with your ex-spouse. You are permitted to work out child support on your own and avoid the costs of adversarial litigation.


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