When your marriage ends, you know this will bring significant changes for every member of your family. The impacts of your decision can last for years to come, and even though your kids may still be young, your divorce could affect their college options in the future. As part of your child support order (and final divorce decree), you may consider adding in terms that address how parents will share the responsibility of paying for college. This is an important expense, and it is something for which you may prepare for far in advance.
Both New Jersey parents are financially responsible for their children until they reach the age of 18, but many divorce orders address how the parents will pay for college tuition and other education expenses. You may seek terms that will allow you to have stability and security, as well as assist with your child’s needs. It is helpful to remember that the decisions you make now could impact you and the long-term interests of your child, so a focus on the future is critical.
Higher education expenses and needs
College is expensive, no matter where your child chooses to attend school. In addition to tuition, a student needs housing, books, supplies and financial support for basic needs. Child support typically covers the financial needs of minor children, but specific terms may allow you to address the matter of college tuition. A court may decide to require a parent to contribute to college expenses. This can include providing support for:
- Room and board
- Transportation and parking on campus
- Books and supplies
- Health care needs
- General living expenses and other fees
The issue of college tuition can be quite complicated in a divorce. While a court may require your financial contribution as part of your divorce order, it is also possible that you and your spouse could create an agreement that is satisfactory and sustainable for years to come.
Your post-divorce future
While you want to support and care for your child, you also will want to seek terms that will provide you with stability and security for the future. Before you agree to terms, you may benefit from seeking guidance regarding how you can pursue a financial and support order that will be sustainable for you — and impactful for your child as they pursue college careers.