Financing Your Child’s Education
When a parent is awarded primary custody of a child, they are typically also awarded some degree of financial assistance from their coparent. These child support payments are essential for many families as parents work to satisfy their children’s basic needs. But what happens when a kid becomes a legal adult?
When Does My Obligation to Pay Child Support End?
A parent’s obligation to pay child support typically ends when their kid turns 18. However, if their child is still in high school when they turn 18, child support will continue until the child graduates or turns 19, whichever comes first.
Neither parent has a legal obligation to continue providing support when the child enters college, just as they wouldn’t be required to contribute if they were married.
Deciding on College Tuition Assistance During Your Divorce
Parents can decide on if and how they each will contribute to their child’s education in a legally-binding contract. These decisions could be made in a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, or marital settlement agreement. Without any of these legal agreements, neither parent has an obligation to pay for college expenses.
If a couple agrees to help with college costs, they must address all aspects of their financial assistance, including:
- Whether they will cover private or public school tuition
- Which expenses they will cover, such as tuition, room and board, textbooks, living expenses, and more
- How payments will be made
- When payments will be made
- Any academic performance requirements for the student to continue receiving support
- Any limitations to how much or for how long they will contribute
- Whether this agreement can be modified
The coparents may even elect to establish a trust or escrow account where they can each begin setting aside their agreed contributions.