Trusted, Effective
Divorce And Family Law Representation

Does college enrollment justify a continuation of child support?

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2023 | Family Law

Even when parents want what is best for their children, they may still come to resent an obligation to make child support payments. The New Jersey courts assess parental income, the division of parenting time and the needs of the children to establish a reasonable child support order.

The goal of such payments is to maintain a fairly equitable standard of living for the affected child and to better ensure that parents can meet the basic needs of the children in the family. The adult paying support is often eager to have an end as soon as possible, while the adult receiving support may find themselves worried about when payments will end. After all, children don’t just move out when they reach the age of majority or finish high school.

Support during the college years is possible

Some states have very clear child support rules that make ongoing support after the age of 19 or high school graduation all but impossible. However, New Jersey recognizes that parents tend to continue providing financial support even after young adults finish high school.

Many child support orders in New Jersey last until a young adult turns 19, but it is possible to request continued support in certain scenarios. One of those situations involves college enrollment. Under current New Jersey statutes, the courts can order one parent to continue paying child support until the young adult finishes their college degree or turns 23.

Of course, what the state will order for child support is probably only a tiny fraction of the actual cost of sending a young adult to college. Parents may be able to cooperate and set their own terms for covering college costs in a written agreement. Doing so may help ensure that the family more effectively meets the needs of young adults eager to pursue educational opportunities after high school.

Cooperating in re: major financial matters, including college tuition, is often the best option for parents who do not want their divorce to diminish the opportunities that their children have in life. And, ultimately, learning more about how New Jersey manages child support issues can help people set more realistic expectations and more effectively navigate negotiations related to a child’s educational expenses.