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Can the Court Make me Pay for my Adult Child’s College Education?

College

A couple’s divorce settlement can cover many topics. If the couple has children, a few of these can pertain to their continuing care and support, even after they become adults. Although Florida does not require parents to contribute to their children’s college expenses, financial support for college can be part of a couple’s divorce settlement if they choose.

Contributing to an adult child’s higher education expenses is not the same as paying child support. In Florida, child support ends on a child’s 18th birthday or, if he or she has not yet graduated from high school by that date, until he or she graduates or turns 19.

If you Choose to Include College Support in your Divorce Settlement, the Court Will Enforce It

Couples who work together to develop their divorce settlements, such as those who choose collaborative divorce, can opt to include requirements for college contributions. They can also impose stipulations on these contributions, like a cap on how much each parent must contribute each year and requirements for the student, such as a certain grade point average or that he or she attend a state school. The court’s job is to enforce the terms of your divorce settlement and if you include college-related financial requirements in yours, it will uphold these requirements.

College support does not always mean paying tuition. A parent might opt to keep an adult child on his or her health insurance plan until the child graduates from college or stops being a full-time student.

Ways to Help your Child Pay for College After your Divorce

An alternative to requiring both parents to contribute a specific amount of money toward their children’s college expenses in a divorce settlement is to open a 529 college savings account or a Florida pre-paid plan for each child. This is a tax-advantaged plan that allows parents to either invest money in a portfolio to build funds for the child to spend on college costs later or pre-purchase credits at state universities, allowing them to lock into current tuition rates.

Work with an Experienced Orlando Family Attorney

As a divorcing parent, you probably have a lot of thoughts and questions about your future relationship and obligations involving your child. Discuss these with an experienced family attorney in Orlando to receive more concrete answers. Contact Goodblatt • Leo today to set up your initial consultation with us, during which we can discuss issues like child support and paying for college.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.30.html

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