College Education and NJ Child Support Laws

Family courts acknowledge and recognize the importance of a college education more and more in recent years. It is not uncommon for a family court to subscribe to the belief that a child’s college education is a required expense. This is a case-by-case basis and the specific amount that a divorced parent is expected to contribute toward their child’s education will vary.

What will a court consider when deciding how a child should be financially supported through college?

The Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 NJ. 529 (1982) case will be referenced when determining the financial obligations of parents for their child’s college education. New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled that a parent’s duty to provide for their child with an education extends to college.

There are many other factors that will be considered when determining how much each parent is expected to contribute to this continuation of education. New Jersey courts will consider the following factors as well as both parents submitting current and full financial information and giving testimony to the court:

  • The availability of scholarships or financial aid for the child
  • The ability of both parent’s to pay for those expenses
  • The commitment and aptitude of the child towards higher education
  • The financial resources of the child such as trusts or individually owned assets
  • The ability of the child to work while studying or during vacations
  • Whether either parent would have supported their children’s higher education costs if they hadn’t divorced
  • The parents’ own higher education backgrounds
  • The relationship of the child with both parents
  • How reasonable it is to expect the child in question to attain higher education
  • How much is needed for the child’s college expenses

Are there any situations where I will not be expected to support my child’s college education?

If the child alienated themselves from the parent despite an effort made by the parent to maintain the relationship may result in the parent not being expected to financially support their college education. This will be reviewed on a case by case basis and the court will review the nature of the parent’s relationship. There is a legal president for a parent whose child refuses to maintain their relationship with the parent to not be held accountable for higher education support.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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