Who is Responsible for Your Child’s Post-Secondary Expenses After a Divorce?
When a child graduates from high school, they often decide to seek higher education in college or other post-secondary school. While it is often assumed that children will typically be required to ‘make their own way’ or rely on the voluntary support of one or both parents, that is not always the case. In most situations, the courts can and typically requires that the parents share some or all of the expenses associated with this type of higher education.
There are many factors that the court considers when awarding post-secondary education. The court will consider whether the child is in fact dependent and is relying on the parents for reasonable necessities of life. The court also considers the age of the child; the child’s needs; the expectations of the parties for their children when the parents were together; the child’s prospects, desires, aptitudes, abilities or disabilities; the nature of the postsecondary education sought; the parent’s level of education, standard of living, and the current and future resources. Also, the amount and type of support that the child would have been afforded if the parents had stayed together will be considered.
Most critical is the timing of filing your request for postsecondary education support. The court will ultimately lose jurisdiction to address this issue upon your child’s graduation from high school or turning 18 (whichever occurs later). Therefore, it is critical to know your options and plan ahead by contacting an attorney early in the process.
If college or other post-secondary education is in your child’s future, it is a good idea to address how these expenses are going to be handled with an attorney. You do not want to put this off, only to be hit with an unexpected financial requirement. Contact us to see if this type of support will be required in your situation, or to seek this type of support from your ex.