College Contributions After a Divorce
Divorce Lawyers Serving New Jersey Residents
According to the College Board, the average annual cost of tuition in 2014-2015 was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,958 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. The point is: College isn’t cheap. And, yet, according to Discover Student Loans, out of a survey of 1,000 parents, 77% indicated that they planned on helping their child pay for college.
Many parents still view it as their duty to help their child obtain a college degree. The big question divorced parents face as their children take the SAT and begin applying for college admittance is, “Who is responsible for paying for their kid’s college education?” To find out more about college contributions, speak with our New Jersey lawyers for honest counsel and customized solutions to your matter.
The View of New Jersey Courts
New Jersey courts tend to view a college education as a necessity and, regardless of your personal beliefs, many judges require that you help pay for your children’s college costs, if it is within your ability to do so. If you and your spouse have both already agreed to help pay for your children’s college costs, divorce proceedings can continue on smoothly. However, more of than not, this area of divorce can become contentious, with spouses disagreeing on:
- To what extent college costs should be covered
- How these costs should be paid
- How the court determines if you should help contribute
Before ordering you to contribute to your children’s college costs, the court will evaluate the following:
- Whether you and your spouse would have contributed towards the costs if you still lived together
- Your educational values and goals and the “reasonableness of the expectation” that your child attain a higher education
- The amount sought by the child for the cost of higher education
- The ability of parents to pay tuition costs
- The amount sought by the child in accordance to the costs of the school he/she desires to get into
- The financial resources of both parents
- The child’s aptitude and commitment to receiving a college education
- The financial resources of the child (including personal assets or assets available through a custodianship or trust)
- The ability of the child to earn income during the school year/while on vacation
- The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans
- The child’s relationship to the paying parent (this includes mutual affection, shared goals and his/her ability to respect the parent’s advice and guidance)
- Whether the long-range goals of the child and his/her prior training corresponds with the type of education they seek
If you would like to learn more about this area of law and find out how much you could be requested to set aside for your children’s college education, contact our legal team at Burnham Douglass Attorneys at Law today! We will look out for you and your child’s best interests.
With an office conveniently located in Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including those in Atlantic County, Burlington County and Camden County. We also extend our legal services to areas including but not limited to the communities of Medford, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Princeton, and Voorhees.