As companies and businesses begin to favor higher levels of education in prospective employees, it is becoming more and more important for a child to receive a college education. New Jersey recognizes this fact, and as such, heavily favors children being financially supported through their college education.
Include a Financial Plan in your Bergen County Child Support Settlement
If you are currently going through a divorce, it is important that you discuss including a financial plan for your child’s college education as part of your child support agreement with your Bergen County divorce attorney. By having a plan in place now for your child’s college education, you can avoid the stress, time required, and expense of having to petition the courts later on to intervene.
If however, your Bergen County child support agreement did not include a plan for your child’s college education, it may become necessary to petition the courts to intervene and modify your existing child support agreement.
Whether you are the supporting parent and have reason to believe that your child’s college expenses should not be supported, or you are trying to secure financial support for your child’s college education, it is important to retain experienced Bergen County child support legal counsel to help you through this process, ensure your case and needs are properly presented and heard, and help you secure the outcome that you and your family deserves.
What a Court Will Consider When Deciding How a Child should be Financially Supported through College
The case that Bergen County family courts will reference when determining the financial obligations of parents for their child’s college education is Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982). In this case, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled that a parent’s duty to provide their children with an education extends to a college education as well.
That being said, every case is different, and different factors will determine how much each parent is expected to contribute, and in certain circumstances, may not be expected to contribute at all.
When considering a parent’s obligation to financially support their children’s college education, Bergen County courts will require both parents to submit current and full financial information, listen to their testimonies, and consider the following factors:
- Whether either parent would have supported their children’s higher education costs if they hadn’t divorced
- The parents’ own higher education backgrounds
- How reasonable it is to expect the child in question to attain higher education
- How much is needed for the child’s college expenses
- 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
- The availability of scholarships or financial aid for the child
- The relationship of the child with both parents
Is There a Situation Where I will Not Be Expected to Support my Child’s College Education?
While most often parents will be expected to financially support their children through college, there are certain cases where a parent may be exempt from making continued support payments.
If the child has purposely alienated themselves from the parent despite the parent’s efforts to maintain a relationship, it is quite possible that that parent may not be expected to financially support their college education. Courts will review the nature of the parent’s relationship to the child on a case by case basis, but there is legal precedent for a parent whose child refuses to maintain their relationship with them to then not be held accountable for higher education support.
Isn’t My Child Emancipated at the Age of 18?
Emancipation is the legal term for the age at which a child is released from control and financial support of their parents. While minors legally become adults at the age of 18, this does not mean that they are emancipated, and thus no longer require financial support.
Unless specifically stated otherwise in your Bergen County child support agreement, the mere fact that your child reaches the age of 18 will not release you from your child support obligations.
Contact a Hackensack Child Support Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across Hackensack, Paramus, Ridgewood, Mahwah, Wycoff, and the greater Bergen County area with their child support agreements, and any child support disputes that may arise after the initial divorce.
By practicing exclusively family and divorce law, our attorneys attorneys are ready to provide highly informed, knowledgable, compassionate, and effective legal service to all of our clients in any family law related matter, including child support issues.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Bergen County child support attorneys today regarding your child support or any other divorce and family law related issue, please contact us online or through our Hackensack, NJ office at 201-397-1750.