Now that your child has gone to college, you may be wondering, “What is my child support obligation?” If you live in New Jersey, you will likely have an ongoing obligation to pay student support. If you have any questions, it’s best to seek advice from a child support lawyer.
Under New Jersey law, child support continues until age 19, but can extend up to age 23 if specific criteria are met, including if your child attends university. While child support continues, parents may also be responsible for paying a portion of their child’s college costs.
Newburgh vs. Arrigo Child support cases
For starters, child support for students is separate under the law. The flagship case is Newburgh vs. Arrigo, which stipulates that parents must contribute to the necessary education of their children in certain circumstances.
While Newburg clarifies that parents have a duty to contribute, it does not clearly define when this contribution is appropriate or what the amount of this contribution should be. the Newburg The decision sets out several factors that trial courts must take into account in determining the child support required for a student. This concerns in particular the following elements: whether the parent, if he was still living with the child, would have contributed to the costs of the higher education requested;
- the effect of the parent’s background, values ââand goals on the reasonableness of the child’s expectations for higher education;
- the amount of the contribution requested by the child for higher education costs;
- the parent’s ability to pay this cost;
- the relationship between the requested contribution and the type of school or study program sought by the child;
- the financial resources of both parents;
- the child’s commitment and aptitude for the education requested;
- the child’s financial resources, including assets held individually or held in guardianship or trust;
- the child’s ability to earn an income during the school year or during the holidays;
- the availability of financial assistance in the form of scholarships and college loans;
- the child’s relationship with the paying parent, including mutual affection and common goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and
- the relationship between the education requested and any previous training and the child’s overall long-term goals.
Additional Improvements to Child Support for University Students
In the years that followed Newburg, New Jersey courts have further defined some of the factors to be considered. One of the best analyzes, although not a legally binding decision, to date has come from revered Judge Lawrence Jones in his ruling in Black vs. Blackk, where Jones J. explained that the existence of a parent-child relationship is one of the factors to be considered. This question essentially depends on whether or not a relationship exists.
In other words, when a parent does not have a relationship with the child, it can be a factor in determining whether and how much that parent should contribute in child support for a student. In Noir, on evidence that the child had rejected the father, Judge Jones demanded parent-child counseling.
Judge Jones also clarified that parents should consider the cost of tuition in the state versus private tuition. In addition,
Judge Jones acknowledged that while there are younger children who are likely to attend university in the future, the resources available for the university should not be exhausted for the older child but rather allocated to each of the children.
Finally, Jones J. emphasized that no parent should contribute more than they can reasonably afford.
Child support for college students remains an open dispute
the Newburg The decision, often cited in marriage settlement agreements, does not establish clear rules for college contribution, but rather sets out the factors to be considered. the Noir the decision referenced above, while compelling, is not binding law in New Jersey. Again, a child support lawyer can help you sort through the legal ramifications of child support.
For these reasons, the college’s contribution remains ripe for litigation during and after the entry of divorce judgments.
Since the duty to provide for your child’s needs and to contribute to college education is separate, it is possible that as a parent you will be faced with an increased support obligation and an obligation to contribute to college expenses. A common mistake is to change your child support obligation once your child enters college, as your child support obligation may increase rather than decrease as your child’s needs change.
It may well be beneficial to ask for a change in your child support obligation once your child enters college, especially if they are no longer going to be living at home. Be forewarned, however, that your support obligation may increase rather than decrease after your child goes to college, as their needs and expenses increase. This is why it is extremely important to speak with an experienced family law attorney before requesting a modification.
Another common mistake is to assume that you and the other parent, your child, will all be equally responsible for your child’s academic contribution. The extent of the contribution of one parent as well as that of your child and the other parent is not assumed to be a distribution of 1/3, 1/3 and 1/3. In advance, college selection, careful analysis, thought, and clear, unambiguous terms spelled out in a marriage settlement agreement can avoid a surprise after high school graduation.
Seek advice from a qualified child support lawyer
Because there is no clear law for student child support, it’s best to seek advice from a child support lawyer near you.