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You may assume that your child support order remains in effect up until your child reaches the legal age of 18. However, an exception may apply if your child wishes to pursue a college education at this time. Continue reading to learn whether a judge can order a parent to pay for college and how an experienced Bergen County child support attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can help you navigate this order.

Can a judge order a parent to pay for college?

Say, for instance, that you and your former spouse underwent a divorce while your child was still a minor. Well, during these proceedings, a New Jersey family law judge may enforce a provision within your marital settlement agreement regarding your child’s potential, future college education. Such a provision may disclose your and your former spouse’s expected financial obligations toward your child’s higher education, should this be something they express interest in pursuing.

However, say that your marital settlement agreement does not entail such a provision. Well, you and your former spouse may have to take this issue back to the New Jersey family court. This is, of course, if you cannot settle a fair agreement amongst yourselves.

What factors are considered for a parent’s financial contribution to college?

Your existing child support agreement may not have expected you and your former spouse to split your child’s expenses 50/50. In the same vein, you may not be expected to equally contribute to the finances of your child’s college education. Rather, the New Jersey family court may look into the following factors to settle on a fair and just order:

  • The relationship you or your former spouse has already established with your child, which may influence their willingness to take on your advice regarding a college education.
  • The expectations you and your former spouse have for your child to pursue a college education versus their commitment to doing so.
  • The financial contribution you or your former spouse would have made toward your child’s college education if you were still living with them.
  • The financial resources your child has to pay for their college education (i.e., individual assets or given trusts).
  • The ability your child has to earn an income while studying or when school is not in session.
  • The financial aid or scholarships that are available for your child to apply for.
  • The financial resources you and your former spouse have to pay for your child’s college education.
  • The amount of financial contribution your child is seeking for their college education.
  • The kind of school or course of study your child wishes to pursue.

When in doubt, someone at McNerney & McAuliffe will look into your case. So please retain the legal services of a skilled Bergen County family law attorney today.

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