In New Jersey, college tuition and expenses are considered to be part of a parents obligation to provide support for their children. Parents can be compelled to contribute to the college expenses of their children.
If you have questions about your obligation to pay college tuition, it is important that you retain an attorney that understands the law and the way in which courts resolve these disputes. At Cores & Associates, our attorneys are available for all of your college contribution disputes.
When Do I Have to Pay My Child’s College Tuition?
Compared to many jurisdictions, NJ child support laws regarding college are relatively liberal. In 1982, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued its decisions in Newburgh v. Arrigo, finding that parents have a duty to support their children’s educational endeavors and provide for their college education. Today, there is a judicial trend towards awarding college tuition and expenses, but these cases require a careful legal and factual analysis.
What Factors Does the Court Consider?
In New Jersey, the court is tasked with considering a number of factors in determining (1) whether there should be a contribution to a child’s college education, and (2) how the expenses should be allocated between the parents and the child.
In addition to any other factors the court considers relevant, the court considers the following factors:
- whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education;
- effect of the background, values, and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education;
- amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education;
- ability of the parent to pay that cost;
- relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;
- financial resources of both parents;
- commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;
- financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust;
- ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation;
- availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans;
- child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and
- relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child.
Strategies Tailored to Your Unique Situation
This analysis is incredibly detailed and fact-specific. Although New Jersey’s laws broadly encourage support for college tuition, every family is different and your child’s need for higher education will vary depending on their unique needs.
Cores & Associates can help with the often difficult process of obtaining support for a college-aged child or defending against a demand for college contribution. If you have questions about NJ child support laws regarding college, contact us today.
Check Your Divorce Settlement Agreement for College Tuition Clauses
Typically, we encourage our clients to address college tuition costs in their divorce settlement agreements. However, this is not always possible — and circumstances can change. Nonetheless, we believe a proactive, forward-looking approach to college contribution is in our clients’ best interests.
Sometimes, our clients are surprised to discover that college tuition is addressed in their settlement agreement, which can simplify matters now that your child is college-aged.
If you need help reviewing your existing divorce settlement agreement for a college tuition clause, speak to a Freehold child support attorney. We can review your settlement agreement, assess your child’s current present needs, and help you understand your legal options.
Your Child Support Obligations Do Not Always End at Age 18
Many parents assume that once their child turns 18, they no longer have to pay child support. However, this is not the case. Many children are reliant on their parents’ support throughout their college years, and New Jersey will not automatically terminate your support obligations on your child’s eighteenth birthday. Often times agreements will provide that if a child attends college, then child support will continue.
If You Can’t Resolve the Issue of College Contribution Privately, the Court Will Address Your College Contribution Obligations
At Cores & Associates, we do our best to resolve child support disputes out of court. While mediation and other dispute resolution methods can successfully resolve many disputes concerning NJ child support and college expenses, it is not possible in every single case.
When you are unable to reach a new agreement, it may be necessary to schedule a court hearing. The court will review each parent’s financial information, assess your child’s academic trajectory, and determine whether child support for college expenses is necessary.
New Jersey courts assess a child’s eligibility for college tuition support on a case-by-case basis.
Again, the court will weigh the factors outlined above when making a determination.
Because college contribution disputes are remarkably complex and require attention to detail, it is always in your best interest to consult with an experienced Freehold NJ family law attorney before you resolve a tuition dispute. You may discover that you have viable arguments against an award of college tuition, based on your unique circumstances.
Do Not Delay in Seeking Assistance with Your College Contribution case.
The time to seek college contribution is before the child has started college. If you delay or wait until the child has graduated, the courts may deny all contribution to these expenses. The parent seeking contribution must provide the other parent with advance notice and information.
Because college contribution disputes are remarkably complex and require attention to detail, it is always in your best interest to consult with an experienced Freehold NJ family law attorney before you resolve a tuition dispute. We offer a free consultation to review your case and devise a strategy that is unique to your child and situation.
Learn More About NJ Child Support Laws Regarding College
Cores & Associates is a respected family law firm that guides its clients through complex disputes involving NJ child support laws and college tuition. Whether you are seeking additional support or want to modify an existing order that mandates tuition payments, our team of child support attorneys can help you understand your legal options and craft personalized strategies that meet your goals. To request a confidential, complimentary evaluation, contact us today.