Child Support and College Expenses in New Jersey
Child support is a form of financial payment that is given to help with a child’s needs once their parents divorce or separate. In most cases, this amount is determined by a formula known as the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines and will assist with costs like rent, food, medical care, and clothing needs. There are other costs that parents might question if they are responsible for child support. One of these costs is college expenses. New Jersey laws tend to differ from other states which can make it difficult to evaluate child support liabilities. Check out our short guide on college expenses and child support for additional information.
Understanding New Jersey’s Child Support Laws
Many people falsely believe that once a child turns 18, that child support is no longer a requirement. While this is the case in most U.S. states, it is not the case in New Jersey. New Jersey laws do not consider a child to be emancipated at 18, if they are attending college as a full time student.. The law requires parents to continue support throughout college, or at the latest, when the child reaches the age of 23.
Contribution towards college expenses is usually determined in addition to the payment of child support. If the child is much younger during the time of the divorce, the Marital Settlement Agreement should address how the parties will address this issue when the child is ready to apply to college.
Important Factors to Consider When Evaluating College Expenses
If the topic of college expenses was not previously discussed, then the court may need to determine whether or not financial contribution is owed for college expenses later. When the court determines a parent’s liability for college expenses, they will take a few important things into consideration.
A few of these factors include:
- If either of the parents would be able or were planning to contribute to college expenses if they were still together
- The reasonableness of the child to attend college
- The financial amount needed for all college expenses
- The financial situation of each parent
- The child’s college goals
- The child’s financial assets
- The child’s ability to cover expenses or to earn income
The court will take into account the financial needs and goals of the child, while still ensuring that no parent is paying more than their fair share of the costs.
College Expenses Eligible Under New Jersey Child Support
College expenses are addressed separately from the issue of how much a parent pays in child support. When seeking contribution towards the cost of college, the child is required to apply for all loans, grants and scholarships before seeking assistance from the parents. Contribution towards college expenses are often based on the parents’ incomes.
When determining how much child support the non-custodial is required to pay, the support calculations will be different if the child resides at home and attends college as compared to if the child is living away at college.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer
Determining college expenses and child support payments can be tricky. What is and is not covered will vary case by case. It is important to discuss the details of your divorce and child support case with a lawyer who has worked in family law in New Jersey previously. Family law attorney Lois Garber Schwartz, Esq. can help you determine your child support liabilities.
Contact a Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Child Support in New Jersey Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. Family law attorney Lois Garber Schwartz, Esq. represents clients throughout the state, including Cherry Hill, Haddon Township, Voorhees, and WInslow. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 482-8799 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1040 Kings Highway N., Suite 202, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.