When you’re a parent, your divorce isn’t really over until your youngest child is an adult and on their own — because every divorced parent has to (constantly) sort out issues of custody and support as their children’s needs change over the years.
That’s why you decided to wait until your child was almost legally an adult to file for your divorce, right? Well, if you’re anticipating a trouble-free divorce because your youngest child is about to turn 18 years of age, think again. In New York, parents are required to provide their children with financial support until the child is 21.
What if the child leaves home or goes to college?
It doesn’t matter. In this state, postsecondary education is considered a luxury, not a right, but housing and other basic needs are considered a necessity, including the cost of a dorm or other student housing.
However, you can ask the court to reduce your support payments (what you send to the custodial parent) based on the fact that you may be handing over a significant amount of funds directly to the university your child attends.
In addition, you and your spouse are free to negotiate an agreement surrounding who will pay for what if your child does decide to go to college. Even if you haven’t thought about it before, that’s something that you need to think about now — especially if your spouse decides to bring it up. If you’re not both on the same page, that could become a sticking point that moves your uncontested divorce to a contested one that has to go through litigation.
What else do you need to know about child support?
There’s nothing simple about child support obligations, so don’t go into your divorce uninformed. The more clearly you understand the specifics of your situation, the better you’ll be able to plan your future.