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Including college expenses in a child support order

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2016 | Child Support

When children are ready to leave for college, quite a few parents expect them to be pretty self-sufficient or to have found ways to cover their expenses. It is normal for many university-bound young adults to need a little help, but are parents required to pay their whole way? This is a

cost that can be taxing on parents, particularly for those who are no longer married and trying to make ends meet themselves.

In the state of New York, higher education expenses may be included in a child support order. If you are a non-custodial parent who is questioning your financial obligation to cover the costs of your child’s education an experienced family law attorney can help you go over your

current support order and file a modification request if appropriate.

How long does a child support order last?

In New York, non-custodial parents are to pay child support until the affected child reaches the age of 21. This is just about enough time to get him or her through an undergraduate program. Of course, if a child is emancipated, gets married, becomes self-sufficient or finishes his or her

degree early, the support order will officially end.

How does a court decide if college expenses are to be included in a support order?

There are various factors that the court will look at when trying to decide if the responsibility of higher education expenses will fall on one or both parents. These include:

  • Monetary resources of both parents
  • Marital standard of living
  • Available financial aid and scholarships
  • The academic performance of the child

What college expenses can a child support order cover?

Many parents are willing to help pay room and board, as providing shelter and food is not really a new expense. However, child support may also be ordered to cover tuition, books, transportation and various other expenses. Depending on the school of choice, this can be quite costly.

Some parents in New York and elsewhere, before getting divorced, may have had plans to pay for their children’s higher education. The dissolution of marriage can greatly affect one’s financial means to do so, unfortunately. While such expenses can be included in a child support order, how much each parent is responsible for is debatable.

An experienced family law attorney can assist you in creating a child support plan that includes funds for college but does not break the bank — so to speak. If, down the line, a modification to the plan becomes necessary, assistance can be provided with that as well.


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