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Divorce and Planning for College Tuition and Expenses

Aug 4, 2015 @ 12:03 PM — by Michael Green

If you are seeking a divorce, one of the issues that will likely come up if you have children is how you are going to pay for college.  In New Jersey, based on current case law, Newburg v. Arrigio, the parties may have an obligation to pay for college after the child looks towards all loans and grants that are available.  Generally, the amount each party will pay will be proportional to their income at the time the child attends college.  Also, generally, the parties may limit their obligation to paying for the costs of state school tuition and expenses.  Any Property Settlement Agreement or Matrimonial Settlement Agreement should include terms that address the payment of college tuition and expenses for the children.  If you have a child that will be attending college and you wish to find out your rights in a divorce regarding college tuition and expenses, call Green & Associates, divorce and family lawyers, for a free consultation at our East Brunswick office at 732-390-0480 or our Fort Lee office at 201-242-1119.

Generally, parties may not have an obligation past an undergraduate degree, however, in some instances, where the parties themselves have attended graduate school and have significant means, there may an issue as to whether or not they should pay for graduate school as well.  

Regardless, both parties must be part of the process of how the child chooses college, where they attend college and for what type of program, taking into consideration the skills of the child and their academic abilities.  If a party or child refuses to cooperate with the other party on their participating in the process of  choosing a college, the party that is not involved, may not have an obligation thereafter to pay for the child's college tuition and expenses.  In addition, while the child is attending college, the child must report their grades and how they are doing to both parties. The parties must also have access to information regarding any loans or grants that the child is receiving.

Postjudgment often parties end up in court on this issue if one party or the other is not participating in the payments for college and tuition.  Motion practice for college tuition and expenses is something that we often do, as divorce attorneys and family law attorneys, at Green & Associates to make sure that the parties' rights are protected as to this issue.


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