When thinking about filing a motion for college tuition or expenses there a number of issues the parties should consider.
If you are seeking support for college and tuition postjudgment of a divorce, consider what the relationship of the parties are with the children at issue. Generally, it is important that the children still have a relationship with the parent from whom support for college is sought. If there is not a relationship or not a good relationship, that issue will have to be dealt with in any motion to determine the cause of the breakdown in the relationship of the child with the party from whom college support is sought. If that party chose to sever the relationship, they are more likely to be found to have to pay support for college and tuition. However, if the child chose to sever the relationship, it may impact the decision of the court regarding compelling the payment of support for college tuition and expenses.
The seminal case in New Jersey regarding the factors that are determinative as to payment for college tuition and support is Newburg v. Arrigio, which outlines the factors that are considered by a court when determining the compelling of payment for college tuition and expenses.
In addition, any property settlement agreement or matrimonial settlement agreement should outline the duties of the parties as to the payment of college tuition and expenses. Generally, after the child has looked towards loans and grants, the parties have an obligation to pay for state school commensurate with their income at the times. So payment for college tuition and expenses may be proportional to income by the parties at the time the child is attending college.
Payment for college tuition and expenses also impacts the amount of child support to be paid if that child is going away for college and does not live at the marital residence or residence of the parent of primary residence. Generally, child support is reduced if the child is attending college away from home, as it would be considered double dipping, but that is fact sensitive as well.
If a party is seeking to terminate or modify their obligation to pay college tuition and expenses, they generally must show that the relationship has been severed with the child and not by their own making. In addition, the PSA or MSA comes into play here as well as regards the terms of any divorce concerning college tuition and expenses. A substantial change in circumstance regarding income may also change the obligations of the parties for paying college tuition and expenses.
The child also has an obligation to keep the parties informed of where they seek to attend college, what they plan on studying and the anticipated costs of college. If the child does not inform the party from whom payment is sought, that will be an issue as well, as all parties have a right to have input on where the child attends college and the costs of college.
At Green & Associates, you may request a free consultation regarding your potential motion regarding college tuition and expenses, whether you are seeking payment or seeking to modify payments. Please call us at 732-390-0480 or 201-242-1119 for a free consultation on your postjudgment motion on college tuition and expenses.