College Education for your children and your Divorce

Posted By The Law Office of Kelley M. Enderley, PC || 2-Feb-2015

When people get divorced who have children they almost always address the issue of child support. However, an overlooked area is the issue of your child's college education and how that will be paid. As part of your divorce settlement an attorney should be including under most circumstances the percentages that each parent will be responsible for the college education costs of the children. Furthermore, there is usually a cap built into this responsibility so neither parent pays more than a New York State University cost.

The law regarding college education expense responsibility for parents comes from cases that have been heard over time in New York State. These cases essentially state parents are responsible for college education expenses provided they have the means to do so up until the child reaches the age of 21. Children will also be responsible for looking into financial aid packages such as loans and grants to assist in the costs of a college education.

It should further be noted that parents who are responsible for paying child support to another parent are entitled under the law to a dollar for dollar credit toward child support, if the child is residing in campus housing and that parent is responsible for the costs of a college education that include room and board. This is due to the partial purpose of basic child support being responsible to maintain housing for a child.

There are many other factors to consider when putting a college education provision into a divorce agreement. Both parents should always be protected from the child who attends the "party school" and who does not work toward an education. It is my policy to negotiate toward language that mandates the child to provide a copy of the grades that are received while they are in school. In addition, I also negotiation for a child being mandated to work toward maintaining a particular GPA to receive assistance to pay for college costs from a parent.

It is important to work with an attorney whether you are making a divorce agreement or simply in family court with a child support case dealing with college education costs so that one is not paying a college education cost that cannot be afforded. The purpose of mandating parents to pay college education costs is not to bankrupt a parent, but to help a child through a difficult financial time so that they are able to get the education they desire. Sometimes this is as simple as participation from both parents in filling out a FASA form, while other times both parents will need to contribute financially.

If you have questions about child support or any other family issues, contact The Law Office of Kelley M. Enderley, PC to schedule a consultation today!