What Are my Obligations Toward my Adult Child’s College Expenses?

Whether you are required to help your child pay for his or her college expenses can depend on the following factors:

  • If you are divorced

  • If your child is currently considered to be a dependent

  • Your other financial obligations

College is expensive and very few young adults are financially capable of paying their way through college. Most rely on their families, scholarships, private and public loans, or a combination of these to finance their post-secondary education. But can you be legally required to help your adult child with his or her college costs? The answer is yes. In a recent case, a New Jersey college student brought her parents to court over her tuition bill to Temple University.

Your Divorce Can Affect Your Obligation to Pay

One of the factors that the court considers when determining whether a parent should be required to contribute to his or her child’s college expenses is the standard of living that the child would have enjoyed if the parents had not divorced. If the family was intact, would the student’s parents be able to afford a contribution to his or her tuition and other college needs? If so, you might be required to help pay for your child’s college education.

Is Your Child a Dependent?

This may be the most important factor that goes into determining whether you are required to help your grown child with his or her college costs. In most cases, college students are between the age of 18 and 22 and do not have significant vocational skills to support themselves, thus necessitating parental help. When a more mature adult chooses to go to college after spending time in the workforce, he or she is much less likely to have a case for requiring his or her parents to provide financial aid.

Your Other Financial Obligations

The court will also look at your income, assets, and debts as well as your former spouse’s income, assets, and debts to determine each party’s financial ability to contribute to your child’s college expenses. The court is much more likely to require a parent who is financially well-off to help his or her child than a parent who is in debt or otherwise struggling financially.

Contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at 732-370-9596 or on the web to schedule your initial legal consultation with a member of our firm. We can answer any questions you have about your financial obligation to your adult child as well as other issues related to child support and emancipation. We proudly serve parents and families in Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, and Burlington counties. Let us give you the expert legal advice and dedication to your case that you deserve.

Recommended Posts