Can a Judge Order a Parent to Pay for College?

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In today’s economy, raising a child is incredibly costly. That said, when parents divorce, they likely worry about their financial stability in the future. However, it’s imperative not to overlook how a divorce can impact your child’s future as well. A common concern for parents is whether or not their ex-spouse is obligated to assist in paying for their child’s college education expenses. Please continue reading to learn who is responsible for college expenses following a divorce and how connecting with a proficient Pensacola Family Law Attorney is in your best interest.

Do Parents Have a Legal Duty to Pay for College After a Divorce?

Under Florida law, child support typically ends when a child reaches the age of emancipation and has completed high school. In most cases, that is when a parent’s obligation to provide financial support will cease. Unlike many other states, Florida law doesn’t explicitly require either parent to pay their children’s college expenses. As such, Florida courts cannot require a parent to pay college expenses unless the parties have contractually agreed to this in a divorce settlement agreement. If you want to make the other parent pay for your child’s college or split expenses, you must address the issue in your divorce settlement agreement.

What Should I Do if I Need Help?

As mentioned above, the only exception when parents are obligated to pay for their children’s college education expenses is if both parties agree that one or both would pay as part of their divorce settlement agreement. If this is the case, a judge could enforce the party’s agreement. However, most parents must support their children until they turn 18 or graduate high school. Therefore, you should turn to The Law Office of James M. Burns, who can help you draft a divorce settlement agreement that protects your financial future.

If you’re planning to create a contractual obligation to ensure your child’s other parent contributes to their college education in a divorce settlement agreement, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of a knowledgeable Pensacola family law attorney. The divorce settlement agreement must include clauses that explicitly address situations in which the parent would be required to contribute and when they would be entitled to stop paying college expenses. For instance, such clauses could state that the parent would not be required to pay for college if they lost their job or suffered a severe medical condition. In addition, you can stipulate whether the parent is responsible for paying their child’s living and housing expenses.

Contact The Law Office of James M. Burns today to learn more about child support obligations and how our legal team can assist you during these complex times.