College Tuition and Child Support

Divorce Agreement Issues Beyond Child Support Payments

In addition to child support payments, parents are also interested in knowing who is going to pay for their child's college tuition, how much they will have to pay and for how long. This issue varies state by state; however, New Jersey caselaw has developed into a general rule. While every case is different, by and large college tuition in New Jersey is a recognized obligation above and beyond child support that divorced parents will be compelled to pay.

This was fully established in the seminal 1982 New Jersey Supreme Court case,Newburgh v. Arrigo. The court essentially ruled that a child should not be punished simply because their parents' marriage ended. If it were likely a child would have gone to college if the parents were together, a court will make sure that child has that same opportunity even though the parents are divorcing. The practical application of this case is that courts generally apply this rule to afford most children in New Jersey the opportunity to go to college. Particularly in recent years this has been the case, since having just an undergraduate degree is vital to entering the job market.

Numerous child support and tuition issues still need to be determined on a case by case basis. The choice of school, whether a parent has been included in that decision process, whether a child lives at home or resides at school, whether a child attends a public or private college, that determines the amount of a parent's college contribution, are all issues that I deal with on a regular basis as a family law attorney in Somerset County.

New Jersey Case Law: Newburgh v. Arrigo

The Supreme Court in Newburgh v. Arrigo provided 12 factors that should be applied in order to determine each parent's responsibility toward a child's college education.

Among these 12 factors are:

  • Whether the parent would have contributed to the child's college tuition prior to the divorce
  • Cost of college tuition child is seeking
  • Contribution ability of both parents
  • Financial resources of both parents
  • Financial resources of the child
  • Commitment of the child toward higher education/learning
  • Financial aid, grants and loans
  • Relationship between paying parents and child

College tuition is not the only expense considered. Depending on the child's ability to work during school, other costs to consider include room and board, lab fees, and book expenses are also considered.

Contact an Experienced Child Support Attorney in Somerset County

For more information about child support and college tuition and how it applies to your case, contact me, Leonard Weitzman, today. Find out how my experience can work for you. Call (908) 458-9098 for an experienced child support lawyer.