Child Support and College Education

Child Support and College Education

Child Support Continuation Attorneys in Bergen County, NJ

Helping NJ Parents With All Types of Child Support Agreements

Due to the February 2017 change to New Jersey child support laws in S-1046/A-2721, all child support obligations automatically terminate when the supported child reaches the age of 19, unless the parents specify otherwise in their initial child support agreement. This change to NJ child support law also applies to all child support agreements signed before this date. So if you, like many parents, are concerned about child support for your child after this age, particularly for how each parent might be expected to contribute towards their child’s college education, read on for more.

While your child support agreement may be set to automatically terminate once your child reaches the age of 19, you may still secure a continuation of child support in several situations, generally in order to help your child finish their education, whether that be high school, college or university, or a postsecondary vocational training program.

At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping parents to draft, modify, continue, and terminate child support agreements of all kinds in towns across Bergen County.  Contact our firm to discuss your family’s unique situation, your legal options when it comes to your child support agreement, and how we can help you when it comes to a child support continuation matter with our experienced family law team.

College Education and NJ Child Support Laws

Family courts recognize the importance of young adults receiving a college education. In recent years, family courts are subscribing more and more to the belief that a child’s college education is a required expense. In fact, there are now a variety of prior cases establishing this exact precedent.

While the specific amount that a divorced parent is expected to contribute towards their child’s post-secondary education varies on a case-by-case basis, there is now enough established case law on this matter that an experienced attorney may use to secure financial support for a child’s college education.

However, just because the courts believe that both parents of a child should contribute to their child’s post-secondary education, that doesn’t always mean your child support agreement includes language addressing this financial concern. If your child support agreement, like many in New Jersey, is set to expire once your child reaches the age of 19, we highly recommend that you speak with one of our child support lawyers today to help continue child support beyond this date.

Child Support Continuation

There are two possible methods any parent can use to secure a continuation of their child support agreement beyond their child’s 19th birthday. The first way is to simply discuss the matter with your former spouse, come to an agreement, and submit that agreement to the courts for ratification in the form of a consent order.

In the case that you and your former spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding how much you will each contribute to your child’s college education, you must file a formal request with the courts for a continuation of child support.

For your child support continuation request to be successful, you and your NJ child support attorney will need to prove one of the following:

  • Your child is still enrolled in high school or a vocational school
  • Your child is attending college or university full-time
  • Your child has developed a mental or physical disability since the time that your child support agreement was made, and before that child reached the age of 19

When it comes to demonstrating to the court your child’s full-time enrollment in high school, vocational school, college, or university, you will need to submit an enrollment verification form to the courts. Many schools use different programs for enrollment verification, so it is important to check with your child’s school which program they subscribe to.

Importantly, things like transcripts, tuition bills, acceptance letters, and financial aid documents will NOT be accepted as forms of proof of your child’s educational enrollment.

**If you have any reason to believe that your child is not attending school full time, your child has a proven track record of not caring much for their education, or your child has a history of ignoring your advice or devaluing your relationship together, you may contest a request for child support continuation on any of these bases.**

How Much Will Each Parent Pay in NJ Child Support for a Child’s Education?

While most parent’s requests for a continuation or modification of child support for their child’s college expenses will most likely be legally successful, the exact amount that each parent is expected to contribute towards their child’s college education varies greatly from case to case.

Courts will examine a wide variety of different factors when making a determination, and how they weigh the findings of each of these factors depends greatly upon the efforts of your child support attorney.

Things like each parent’s income, their individual relationships with the child in question, that child’s educational history, goals, and aptitude, and even whether or not those same parents have younger children who may also one day require financial support for their education will all play a role.

When it comes to matters this complex, having an experienced attorney on your side may benefit you immensely, as he or she can help you understand what information the court needs, how to best present it, and how to navigate the entire child support continuation or modification process.

Contact Our Hackensack Child Support Continuation and Modification Attorneys Today

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping parents to draft comprehensive and robust child support agreements, modifying child support agreements when circumstances change, and representing parents in child support continuation matters. Whether you are a parent seeking financial support for your child’s post-secondary education, or a parent who has reason to believe this support is undeserved or would be wasted on the child in question, our firm is ready to provide you with the knowledgeable, effective, and attentive legal service that you need and deserve in matters so important to you as a parent, and your family’s financial stability as a whole. To speak with our family law team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your child support agreement, or any child support continuation or modification matter, contact our firm today.

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