Can I Make My Ex Pay for Our Child’s College in New Jersey?

ex college new jersey

To learn if you can make your ex pay for your child’s college in New Jersey, please read on, then contact one of our experienced child support continuation attorneys in Bergen County, NJ today.

Does your ex have to pay for your child’s college in New Jersey?

A handful of states have laws or case laws that give courts the authority to order a non-custodial parent to pay for some form of college expenses. New Jersey is in this minority of states that grant the judge the discretion to require divorced or separated parents to pay for their children’s college education. The public policy and social goal of the Family Court is to encourage higher education and the ultimate success of the children. Divorce or separation of parents should not preclude a child’s education or training. If a child has the ability and inclination to seek higher education the parents are usually required to contribute if they are financially able.

What factors will determine if my ex has to pay for our child’s college in New Jersey?

The Family Court considers the following criteria and factors:

  • Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the cost of the requested higher education
  • The effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education
  • The amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education
  • The ability of the parent to pay that cost
  • The relationship of the requested funds to the kinds of school or course of study sought by the child
  • The financial resources of both parents
  • The commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education
  • The financial resources of the child
  • The ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation
  • The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans
  • The child’s relationship with the paying parent, including mutual affection, shared goals and responsiveness to parental guidance, and
  • The relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the long-term goals of the child

How does the Family Court determine college contribution?

The amount of contribution and the selection of colleges are often contested. The courts will frequently weigh the child’s academic ability against the selection of schools and the associated cost. Most judges will impose a requirement on the child to obtain all available loans, scholarships, grants and aid. In some cases where the parents have low incomes or the child is at or below average academically, the contribution will be limited to a county college rate. Similarly, the courts may limit the parent’s contribution to the rates charged by New Jersey state universities. Consistent with the criteria in the preceding section, the selection of schools must be discussed, in advance, with the parent being asked to contribute.

If you have any further questions, please reach out to one of our skilled child support lawyers in Bergen County, NJ as soon as possible.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

To speak with our team of family law lawyers today, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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