Child Support and College Contribution

Now that your child is off to college, is your ex off the hook for paying child support?

Does the Absent Parent Have to Pay for College, Too?


Preparing your child to go to college is one of the most exciting times of their life. It is also one of the most expensive. From textbooks to laptops to dorm decorations, the expenses add up. You’ve been counting on child support for years, but now that they are off to college.

Is your ex off the hook for child support now that your child is legally considered an adult? After all these years, don’t they have an obligation to help with the astronomical expenses?

Generally speaking, they do have to help pay for college. Every state and every case is different, but the rule of thumb is that if your state has laws that mandate or allow for contribution towards college expenses and it has been stipulated in your divorce decree or child support order, the Court will make the non-custodial parent contribute to their child’s education. 

How Do Courts Determine Payment?

Many Judges pose it by asking if they would have contributed to their child’s continued education had the two parents stayed together (yes, I’m hoping). Courts also recognize that some parents expect their children to attend college, creating an obligation for non-custodial parents to assist in college. The goal is to give the child the best chance to have the career of their choice, and ultimately, be able to support themselves.

 How much a parent must contribute toward education varies by state and case. Still, some expectations are consistent throughout all states. As an example, the New Jersey Supreme Court outlines them in Newburgh v. Arrigo: 

1) Whether the parent would have contributed to the cost of the requested higher education

2) The background, values, and goals of the parent and their expectation of higher education

3) The amount of the contributions sought by the child for the cost of higher education 

4) The ability of the parent to pay the cost

5) The relationship of the requested contribution to the school and major sought by the child

6) The financial resource of both parents

7) Commitment to and the ability of the child for the requested education

8) The financial resources of the child, such as a trust

9) The ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation

10) The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans

11) The child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals, as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance 

12) Any prior training related to the requested education and the overall long-range goals of the child

Athena Can Help

Athena has been built on over 20 years of child support collection experience we provide Mamas with the support you need to collect. Athena’s technology locates your ex and his assets, then provides you with the necessary documents to file in your specific state. You get step-by-step instructions throughout the whole process and assistance when you have a question. 

You have the right to collect your child support and to have assistance in paying for your child’s continued education. If you are ready to start getting paid, sign up for Athena today!


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