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Parents may be responsible for college costs post-divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2021 | Divorce

When New Jersey parents divorce, they need to work out how they’re going to manage and pay for expenses for their family moving forward. Discussions will revolve around things like alimony, child support, mortgages, and any of the other financial issues that they need to resolve at the end of a marriage. Another financial issue that they may have to deal with is how they’re going to handle paying for their children’s college educations after the divorce.

Are divorced parents required to pay for their children’s college education?

While some states are split on whether or not parents should pay for their children’s college educations after a divorce, New Jersey courts generally land on the side of viewing it as a must. Each case is different, but in general, many state courts have required that parents pay for their children’s college educations even if those parents have divorced.

What factors do courts consider when determining if and what divorced parents should pay?

Courts look at several factors when figuring out divorced parents’ financial obligation regarding their children’s college educations.

  • They determine whether or not the parents would have paid for college if they hadn’t gotten a divorce.
  • They’ll confirm that going to college is a goal that the family considers important and expected.
  • They’ll consider the cost of in-state colleges vs private colleges.
  • They’ll look at the parents’ incomes and determine how much one or both parents can reasonably spend.
  • They’ll determine how much the child or children could reasonably get in the form of student loans or grants.
  • They’ll consider any financial resources of the child. This could include things like trusts.

If parents are unable to come to a reasonable solution, the court may order a plenary hearing. At this hearing, both parents will submit financial information like their W-2s and tax returns, and they’ll need to provide the family law court with a full list of their assets.

Where can people go if they have questions about paying for children’s college after a divorce?

Financial discussions during a divorce are difficult. People going through the process may benefit by working with attorneys who have experience handling these types of family law cases.