Child Support After 18: Should Child Support Cover College Costs?

BROOKLYN, New York. If you are going through a divorce in Brooklyn, New York and have children, it is important to consider all the ways in which your child will require financial support. For many families, financial support doesn’t end at age 18. Most middle-class families contribute money to their children’s college educations. However, if the cost of college education isn’t considered during a divorce, children could potentially lose out on important financial support.

Child support is designed to ensure that a child’s material needs are met. While most child support ends when a child turns 18, in some cases, a parent may be required to continue to pay child support after a child turns 18. As the cost of a college education grows, more parents are being required to pay child support to cover their children’s college education. When divorcing individuals are considering parenting plans and child support arrangements, the cost of college education needs to be taken into account. According to the College Board, the average cost of public, in-state tuition was $9,650 a year between 2016 and 2017. Children attending a public, out of state college averaged $24,930 in tuition each year. Tuition at a private university averaged at $33,480. Many families start a college fund for their children when they are younger. As part of a divorce settlement, sometimes parents agree to donate a given amount each month or each year to this fund. However, it is important to consider rising college costs and inflation. Room and board alone can cost an average of $10,000 a year.

According to Forbes, parents are not legally required to pay their children’s college tuition. This means that once you settle your divorce, it may be too late to secure additional money to pay for your child’s college if these figures aren’t agreed upon in the divorce settlement. There are several ways that divorcing individuals can ensure that their children’s college educations will be covered. Parents can establish a trust for their child or a lump sum amount could be paid by one parent to the other to cover college costs. Each has its drawbacks and benefits, and it may be wise to speak to both a divorce lawyer in Brooklyn, New York like the Law Office of Charles Zolot and a financial planner.

If your children are young, it may seem too soon to be planning for college. However, if you are getting divorced, failing to plan ahead can result in headaches down the line. Parents should take the time to consider what percentage of the child’s college tuition each parent will pay. They should also consider whether they will send their children to a state school, out of state public school, or private school. Each of these options come with differing costs. Parents may also want to discuss whether they will cover their child’s room and board, or whether the child will be expected to cover these expenses himself or herself. These decisions can have an immense impact on what a parent may be expected to pay. For example, New York city state schools are now free for local students. If a divorce agreement covers only local school fees, one parent may not be required to contribute anything if tuition is free.

Divorce settlements and child support agreements can be complex. It is important to ask the tough questions now. Divorce can be an incredibly emotionally trying time and it can be hard to know what questions to ask. Visit the Brooklyn, New York divorce lawyers at today to learn more about your rights and options.



Charles Zolot