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Do You Need to Pay Child Support for a Child in College?

Family and lawyer discussing custodyMany divorced parents, particularly those the court ordered to pay child support, question whether they have to continue paying child support all throughout college, including the tuition. The answer to this could be no, yes, or maybe, depending on state law.

For example, the majority of children don’t enter college until after 18 years old when a parent’s legal responsibility to send support payments end, and the court loses its power to enforce paying child support, explain child support attorneys in Albuquerque. However, if ex-spouses clearly indicate in their child support agreement that they agree to share expenses of their child all through college, the court would enforce their deal.

Child Support for a Child in College

If the state you got divorced in has a law mandating that you need to pay all or some of your child’s college expenses, you need to abide by the law. Depending on the court order child support in college might be in addition to the standard child support payments, part of it, or separate from it, following the conclusion of regular child support.

In general, the court would consider the following factors when ordering a parent to pay for child support through college:

  • The financial resources of both ex-spouses and their child;
  • The child’s ability, aptitude, interests, and goals;
  • The child’s standard of living if the parents didn’t divorce;
  • The parents’ expectations of their child when they were married;
  • The parents’ standard of living;
  • The parents’ level of education;
  • The age of the child; and
  • The specific nature of the college education the child wants.
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The Main Takeaway

Even if you got divorced in a state that doesn’t impose child support throughout college, you and your ex could agree in advance to share your child’s college costs. Do note that your agreements should be in writing and must specifically and clearly describe your and your ex’s duties, as well as particular limitations or conditions to act as a cap or guide for everyone involved.