Does child support extend to college tuition payments?
When divorcing parents work out the terms of a child support agreement, consideration is given to the amount needed to help maintain the lifestyle to which the child is accustomed. This is of particular concern in situations where one or both parents are high-income earners.
Maintaining an accustomed lifestyle can be extremely important for a child’s emotional well-being. After all, it can be very stressful for a child to watch his or her parents go through a divorce. Keeping lifestyle changes to a minimum can help provide the child with a sense of stability.
But often parents only focus on the child’s current needs, without giving enough consideration to what will happen in the years to come. For example, what if when the child gets older, he or she wants to attend college? Many young people grow up expecting that they will be able to pursue a college degree. So does a support-paying parent have an obligation to contribute money toward this worthy endeavor?
Well, in California, the answer is no, a parent holds no legal obligation to help a child pay for tuition. But the good news is that it is possible to include stipulations regarding the payment of higher education costs in the body of your child support agreement.
Having terms that cover college tuition costs in a support agreement is important on many levels. First, as you likely know, college can be very expensive and you and the child will need all the financial support you can obtain. Secondly, by knowing that he or she has money earmarked for college, your child has greater motivation for academic achievement, which can lead to having a happier more productive life.
To best ensure that all of your child support bases are covered, including terms regarding college tuition, you may wish to contact an experienced California family law attorney. The attorney could assess your child’s present and future needs and work on your behalf to create a support agreement tailored to help serve those needs.