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Who Is Going to Pay the Kids' College Tuition? 

Law Office of Karen S. Brown Sept. 22, 2022

Man counting college savings fund, tuition fee or student loan with calculator.Parents going through a divorce or legal separation often establish child support agreements to assist their children financially. In addition to covering the child's basic needs and living expenses through regular support payments, the parent may also decide who will pay the college tuition of their child. A trusted California family law attorney can help you understand how your kids' college tuition factors in child support.  

The Law Office of Karen S. Brown enjoys providing professional legal counsel and reliable advocacy to clients in child support-related matters. Attorney Karen S. Brown is available to discuss your specific situation and explore your options to pay your child's college tuition following your divorce. The firm is proud to serve clients across Los Angeles County, Beverly Hills, South Bay, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Orange County, and Ventura County, California. 

Is Paying for College an Obligation for
Divorced Parents?  

According to California law, the obligation to pay court-ordered child support ends when the child turns 18 years old – or 19 years if he or she is still in high school. Essentially, there are no provisions for adult child support under California law, except in disability cases. Hence, child support will not cater to the child's college tuition and other college-related expenses. 

Options to Consider 

In a California divorce, it is understandable for single parents to want their child's other parent to contribute to the costs of their child's education. To address the issue of your child's college tuition and other college expenses, here are some of the available options to consider: 

Establish Voluntary Agreement 

As part of the divorce settlement, the divorcing parents can negotiate and enter into an agreement regarding the payment of their child's college tuition and other expenses. The agreement should also indicate: 

  • How much each parent will pay

  • What costs will be included – such as school, daily living expenses, room and board, and books

  • When and how the payments will be made

  • The conditions the child must meet for financial assistance to continue

  • Whether the agreement can be modified

Set Up a College Fund 

Another option for parents to pay their kids' college tuition is by setting up a college fund. The divorcing parent may need to create an escrow account or trust to hold funds for their child's college tuition and expenses. Generally, setting up a trust for college funds can offer added protection and prevent either party from violating the agreement later. 

Choosing a School 

However, you and your child's other parent should consider the cost between state school tuition and private school tuition. Also, you should consider the possibility of your child getting accepted into an out-of-state college. You may need to work together to determine how the cost of college tuition will be shared or agreed upon. 

Filing for Financial Aid 

Lastly, you may also pay for your child's college tuition by filing for financial aid. This may require filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Depending on the financial circumstances and custodial parent, you can determine who is in the best position to file. 

Get Experienced Legal Guidance  

Though, parents do not have a legal obligation to pay for their adult child's college. Regardless, divorcing parents may still want their child's other parent to contribute or provide for their child's education and future. A knowledgeable attorney can analyze your available options and help you make informed decisions.  

Attorney Karen S. Brown has committed her career to advising and guiding clients in challenging family law matters involving child support obligations and college tuition. In addition, she has the resources 6necessary to inform you about the different options to pay for your child's college expenses in a divorce and help you decide the best one for your unique financial situation. Also, she will work diligently with both parents to reach a feasible settlement agreement that will be in your family's best interest.  

Contact the Law Office of Karen S. Brown today to schedule an easy consultation with a loyal family law attorney. The firm is proud to serve clients across Los Angeles County, Beverly Hills, South Bay, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Orange County, and Ventura County, California.