Can a Judge Order a Parent To Pay For College?

college kid using laptop

If you are not the custodial parent, do you have to pay for your child’s college? You can be ordered to pay for college, even though most typical child support agreements end when the child meets the age of majority. A Tazewell County post judgment modification lawyer from our firm can help you figure out how much you could be expected to shell out.

How Long Can a Parent Be Forced to Pay For College?

Usually a parent will be asked to pay for college only through the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or until the child turns 23 years old. They can be asked to help with expenses like:

  • Tuition
  • Room and board
  • Book fees
  • Registration
  • Application fees
  • Living expenses

In many cases, there is a stipulation that the support ends if the child is no longer enrolled in school or if they are not enrolled full-time. There can also be rules about whether support continues if a student falls out of good standing with the school, like if their GPA drops below a certain level,

How Much Can a Parent Be Made to Pay For College?

There is actually a limitation on how much a court can make a parent pay for college. The court will use the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as a benchmark. It looks at the tuition, housing, and related costs of that school, and then it can order a parent to pay up to that amount.

So if your child chooses an expensive school, you are not necessarily on the hook for the entire tuition bill. You and your spouse can make an agreement to pay more though. It’s just that the legal system has limitations on how much it can make you pay.

What Factors Can a Court Consider Before Ordering a Parent to Pay For College?

There are a few things that a court may consider before they decide to order a parent to pay for college expenses. The court can look at:

  • Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the cost of the requested higher education
  • The relationship between the child and the parent being ordered to pay for college
  • The financial resources of both parents
  • The commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education
  • The financial resources of the child
  • The ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation
  • The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans

Can Parents Make Their Own Agreement About Education Expenses?

Of course! If you and your ex can come to an agreement about how college expenses will be split, you can hammer out those details yourself with the help of your attorneys. Then you can submit this plan to the court for approval.

Talk to a Family Lawyer Today

If your ex is trying to make you pay for college or other expenses outside of your original child support agreement, contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. Schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about what we can do for you.

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