students walking campus

You may have always dreamed of the day your child starts college, pursuing a degree that will earn them an honorable career. However, reality may soon set in and you may worry about its financial implications. This may have you scrambling to reference back to your established child support agreement. Follow along to find out whether a judge’s child support order will include your having to pay for your child’s college education and how a proficient New York City child support attorney at Zimmet Law Group, P.C. can fight to ensure this is a fair expectation.

Does a child support order include paying for a child’s college education?

Usually, a child support order remains in effect until a child reaches the legal age of 18. However, this order may be extended if a child has a certain physical or mental disability. Or, most notably, if your child wishes and intends to pursue a college education. This provision may be disclosed in the marital settlement agreement itself.

On the other hand, a child support order may be terminated before a child turns 18 if they have legally emancipated themselves. Or, if they have enlisted in the armed forces or gotten married.

What happens if I cannot reasonably afford my child’s college education?

Your child support order was likely settled many years ago, when your child’s potential, future college education was barely a thought. Meaning that your financial circumstances have likely changed since. For example, you may have had more children since getting remarried. Or, you may have had to take a lower-paying job to remain in close proximity to your child.

Even if your financial circumstances have not changed, you still may unequipped to take on your child’s college expenses. There is not only their tuition, room and board, and meal plan to worry about, but also their laptop, textbooks, transportation, and more. This may be all the more overwhelming if your child’s desired area of study requires many years of education, such as medicine. Or, if their desired place of study is an Ivy League school.

This is all to say that, if you do not believe you can reasonably afford your child’s college education, you may have to file a post-judgment modification. Here, the New York State family court may look at the following factors to decide on a fair and just financial expectation:

  • Your and your former spouse’s financial resources to put towards your child’s college education.
  • Your child’s financial resources to put towards their college education (i.e., earned income or inherited trust funds).
  • Your child’s eligibility to apply for government-sponsored financial aid programs or school-funded grants or scholarships.
  • Your child’s capacity to earn income throughout the school year or during school breaks.
  • Your child’s preferred school or desired area of study.

When in doubt, someone at Zimmet Law Group, P.C. will look into your case. So please retain the legal services of one of the talented New York City matrimonial and family law attorneys today.