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#1 of 18 Old 05-27-2005, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This was brought up on another thread and rather than highjack it and take it way off topic, here is the question:

Are parents that pay child support required to pay for college (or their portion of) or does child support stop at age 18?

It is my understanding that child support ends at age 18. I had just read
"The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce" which studied divorced families for 25 years and that was one of the conclusions-- kids of divorce have a hard time going to college because the noncustodial parent feels like their obligation has been met when the child turns 18.

In an intact family, no body is required to pay for college. If a parent doesn't want to pay, the kid doesn't go or finds other ways to pay.

I did have a friend whose dad paid for her apartment in college but that was because he owed back support. Does this vary state to state?

We have mentioned it to our lawyer since the ex seems poor but her family is very wealthy but were kinda told, "good luck."
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#2 of 18 Old 05-27-2005, 04:55 PM
 
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My support ended completely when my son turned 18 and his father would never have considered paying for college. I see this a lot with child support. It is really sad that we have turned supporting our children into something that courts decide rather than something done out of love and responsiblity.

Maureen
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#3 of 18 Old 05-27-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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I think I responded in that thread too, but I'll say it again here. I'd always heard that child support would continue as long as a child was in school. But paying for college is not a given. They assume that once the "chiild" reaches 18 (or 19), either they will be done with school and get a job and then CS won't be necessary, or they'll go to college and the money that was formly considered child support is now basically considered school support, so they don't have to pay both.

I looked this up on a law board and although I didn't find every state, (the part I'm pasting below is for Alabama) I'm pretty sure it's how most of the U.S. deals with child support and extended schooling.


Alabama recognizes two grounds for the continuation of support beyond the child’s reaching the age of 19. The first is for the payment of the expenses of college, and the second is for continuation of support for a disabled child if the disability continues into adulthood.

College support is pursuant to a case called Ex Parte Bayliss, 550 S.2d 986 (Ala. 1989). The key consideration in dealing with Bayliss support is that it has to be applied for before the child reaches the age of 19. If the child has already reached the age of 19 before Bayliss support is requested, courts have believed in the past that they lack the authority to award college support. The expenses included in Bayliss support are tuition, books, room and board, and necessary fees.
Info from divorcelaw.com
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#4 of 18 Old 05-27-2005, 06:42 PM
 
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Hmmmm. Not sure. Not sure only b/c we received different stories from 2 diff lawyers. But I'll tell you what our good one said.

We were told that as long as the child of the marriage (not sure if/how it applies to non-married folk) are dependent on one parent (living at home, going to school - high school; university; college) that child support still does apply even if they are 18. We were also told that its not usually fought for. (we let it go while going thru proceedings). So while its completely within your right to have support paid while child is schooling f/t, you'd actually have to go in front of a judge to enforce it (if both parties disagree). Since, we were going well with mediation we decided to leave it.

So, basically, I'm not much help. :LOL
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#5 of 18 Old 05-27-2005, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I think there was something in that book about it should be negotiated for at the time ofthe divorce but is usually let go in order to mantain peace in the proceedings.

It is interesting to me that it is possible to "force" a parent to pay for college since kids with married parents don't have this option at all! I have known high school kids who were just out of luck because a parent thought they should pay for it themselves and they don't qualify for aid by themselves (meaning not considering their parents incomes) till they are 25. I'll have to look this up for my state.

Where was this website? It is posted on the other thread?
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#6 of 18 Old 05-27-2005, 07:10 PM
 
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My parents divorced while I was in college. As part of the divorce, I had a court order detailing what each was obligated to give me to support my college attendance. Neither parent argued with this. It was their idea because they understood that I should not suffer because they were divorcing/divorced. By having it legally outlined there was no way for me to get sucked into their own personal battles. I don't know if there was any law that required them to do this.

My parents didn't have the money to pay for all of my college, but they both understood the responsibility to help out as much as they could. That didn't change just because they were no longer together.

Mom to Kira March 2009
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#7 of 18 Old 05-27-2005, 07:49 PM
 
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Quote:
it should be negotiated for at the time ofthe divorce
ah yes, but nothing is written in stone! (as we have learned since dh ex didnt show up for divorce hearing; our petition was granted w/o contest and then 2 years later - we're back in since ex decided what she wasnt paying was too high) sorry, ot...

If this is something you are looking at, I say go for it!

Quote:
It is interesting to me that it is possible to "force" a parent to pay for college since kids with married parents don't have this option at all
Yeah, it is interesting, isnt it? But I guess for us, here, parents arent forced to pay for the actual schooling, just the "maintaining" of the child while they go.
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#8 of 18 Old 05-29-2005, 12:59 AM
 
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The standard in MI (meaning, if the two of you haven't agreed upon something else and have it approved by the judge) is support ends at age 18 or, if the child is still in high school, age 19. No support for when they are in college, and no obligation to pay half of tuition. My mom and dad recently went through this (they have 5 kids, age 24 years to 9 years, and got divorced 5 years ago). 2 of the 4 now adult children went to college and neither parent was forced to pay half. For all the adult children the support ended at age 18 (or 19 if still in high school, or upon graduation), depending on when the birthday was. The court order for my ex and I says the same- age 18 or 19, depending on when he graduates.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#9 of 18 Old 05-29-2005, 08:10 AM
 
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In VA, as I understand and have seen it work but we all know anything can happen, unless placed in the order prior to commencement of college, support is 18 or until they finish school. It depends on what the agreement says...in DH's case is explicitly says 18th birthday (the ex asked for this) but sd won't be done with hs for a couple of months after that...so we figure at least through then. RE college he has no legal obligation because there is no legal obligation for parents to send their kids to college (married or divorced).
But we are in court every year so maybe it will come up! Of course that would obligate the ex to pay for college and that's probably why it's not in there. We are the only ones financially responsible for anything; she just gets to make all the decisions...

Sorry - I'm thinking I'm headed to a whole other thread - dad's that do everything they are supposed to/can and still fight for a relationship with their kids
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#10 of 18 Old 05-29-2005, 09:34 PM
 
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My little sis is about to finish her 4th yr of college and my ex step mom is STILL required to pay child support until she hits I think age 23 as long as she stays in college full time. I hear about it every time I see her.

Seriously?
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#11 of 18 Old 05-31-2005, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I guess it differs from state to state. Those that are required to support while a full time student-- is that tution, too or just living expenses?
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#12 of 18 Old 05-31-2005, 10:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor
Ok, I guess it differs from state to state. Those that are required to support while a full time student-- is that tution, too or just living expenses?
Its while she's in college full time and she just has to pay the regular amount of child support. What ticks me off is she lives away from home and my Dad keeps the money claiming he has to keep a home available for her and uses it to remodel his house.

Seriously?
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#13 of 18 Old 05-31-2005, 10:48 PM
 
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I was under the impression that it was as long as the child is in school, but not past age 21. At the very least, a child who is applying for financial aid is required to have both parents fill put their portion of the financial form, unless the child is a declared independant. I know my parents divorce decree stipulated that my father would carry my youngest sister under his insurance plan, and pay a particular percentage of college costs until she was 21.

I think any parent should at least try to help a child who is wanting college. I agree that its sad that some parents need court orders to force them into lending a financial hand if the child chooses college.

Most courts would only require the other parent pay the portion that seems fitting for the parent's income, not foot the whole deal.

Just because parents have more kids with another partner doesn't mean the first kid doesn't need/deserve a helping hand for college tuition. If a child wants to go to college and is willing to do her part, a parent needs to also step up and help, even if it's a painful.

If a parent has no money at all, the child can get some need-based aid. But if the parent can help, that need-based aid is reduced.
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#14 of 18 Old 06-01-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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I read that book too, and remember those passages very clearly.

I think *some* divorce agreements can stipulate that the support include college when the time comes, but if it's not already in there, it could be difficult.
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#15 of 18 Old 06-29-2005, 10:56 AM
 
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It definitely depends on state.

In our case, the parenting plan about my step-son specifically stipulates that ALL support obligations end at age 18, or graduation from high school, whichever comes second, as long as high school has been graduated by age 19. Otherwise it just ends anyway.

I am very grateful that this stipulation exists, and I recommend that anyone redo-ing a parenting plan try and get it in there, especially if you live in a state that would otherwise force child support through college.

It is not that we don't plan on helping DSS with college. We plan on helping all our children. But this way:
1) we can pay DSS or his college the funds directly. With a child support obligation, we would still be paying his mother, who has a history of not using the funds on the child.
2) we can help pay for college in our own way. For example, we plan to require that our kids apply for all available grants and scholarships FIRST before we help them. We plan on requiring a certain GPA and part-time work to receive our continued financial help with college. If it were mandatory child support, we could not require any of these things - ie, DSS could be partying all the time, never bother to apply for scholarships, and be getting a 1.9 GPA and we would still be paying. We don't like the thought of being forced to pay for a college education that the child is not taking seriously.

Finally, I do agree that it is horribly discriminatory that in some states it can be required of divorced parents, yet there is no corresponding requirement for children of intact families.
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#16 of 18 Old 06-29-2005, 07:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
I was under the impression that it was as long as the child is in school, but not past age 21. At the very least, a child who is applying for financial aid is required to have both parents fill put their portion of the financial form, unless the child is a declared independant.
Not here - I only had to have my mom fill it out. Interesting.

And I think support orders here continue through college, to 24 (?). But the amount doesn't change. SO whatever you pay when dc is in high school you just keep paying.
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#17 of 18 Old 07-07-2005, 05:40 PM
 
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I know when my parents divorced, c/s ended at 18 regardless of if we were still in h.s. (I turned 18 the month before school got out and cs stopped on my birthday). My father chose not to help with my college education. My son's father will most likely not help either because that's the way he is . . . it is sad that a child should have to fight to receive PARENTAL assistance for college but . . . I have heard some states to require parental support through college but I don't know which ones.
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#18 of 18 Old 07-07-2005, 05:57 PM
 
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Hm, I read in the paper recently that in one of the provinces a father was just ordered to pay for med school for his daughter.
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