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Does Child Support Include College Tuition?

Posted on in Child Support

b2ap3_thumbnail_college-expenses.jpgIn Texas, parents have certain legal duties towards their children, one of which is to provide them with financial support until they turn 18 years old. Parents can, however, be required to help pay for college tuition in some cases, so if you are going through a divorce and have questions or concerns about providing for your child’s future, it is important to contact an experienced complex child custody attorney who can help ensure that your child’s interests are protected.

Parenting Plans and College Tuition

Generally, non-custodial parents are only required to pay child support for a child until he or she turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever is later, although if a child is older than 18 years old, he or she must be attending high school on a full-time basis to continue receiving support. In some cases, courts will take future college education expenses into account when drafting an initial child support order. However, the law does not prevent parents from negotiating and agreeing to additional child support obligations, which could include responsibility for paying for college tuition, during divorce proceedings.

For instance, in creating a parenting plan, the parties could draft certain provisions that specifically relate to how college tuition will be divided. In these situations, the parties should ensure that the agreement is made in writing and includes certain information, including:

  • How much college tuition will be paid;
  • The percentage of expenses that each parent will be required to pay;
  • How the cost of related costs, such as books, room and board, transportation, and living expenses will be divided;
  • Whether there are certain conditions that a child must meet in order to continue reaching support, including course loads and a minimum GPA;
  • If there are GPA and credit conditions, whether compliance will be evaluated on a yearly basis or by semester;
  • Whether there are any restrictions on which college the child could attend;
  • How long each parent is required to pay tuition;
  • Whether payments will be made directly to the college, to one of the parents, or to the child;
  • Whether payment will take the form of a lump sum payment each semester or whether the funds will be invested and then made available to the child when he or she graduates high school; and
  • Whether the child will be required to share partial responsibility for payment of tuition.

If an ex-spouse later violates this agreement, he or she can be held liable for breach of contract.

Contact an Experienced Complex Litigation Attorney Today

It can be difficult to plan for a child’s future educational expenses, especially if he or she is very young at the time of divorce. However, drafting a clear agreement regarding tuition can help avoid problems down the road, while also protecting the best interests of the child, so if you are considering a divorce, please contact a passionate Georgetown complex litigation attorney at The Law Offices of William D. Powers for help.

Sources:

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=18305417372024457961&q=Bartlett+v.+Bartlett,+465+S.W.3d+745+&hl=en&as_sdt=806

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.154.htm

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