Top Attorneys Above Par 2009 | Super Lawyers

Trusted Lawyer in

South Jersey & Philadelphia

Photo of David T. Garnes

Trusted Lawyer in

South Jersey & Philadelphia

Can child support in New Jersey help to cover college costs?

On Behalf of | May 25, 2023 | Child Support

Between the demand for electronic devices and the creeping cost of living, it has never cost more to raise a child to adulthood, especially if they intend to pursue a college degree. Four years of tuition and textbook costs could easily add up to a hefty six-figure bill.

Married parents often spend the majority of their children’s lives saving for college, and even then, the student may need to take on a significant about of debt. When parents separate or divorce, the same amount of income now has to cover expenses at two residences, which will translate to less disposable income to put aside for college savings.

It is quite common for both parents and teenage children affected by a divorce to worry that the end of a marriage could also mean the end of someone’s college ambitions because of financial challenges. Can a family count on child support to help with college costs after a divorce?

New Jersey does require support for college students

Most states terminate child support when someone turns 18 or graduates from high school. For New Jersey children who will go straight into the workforce after high school, their graduation or birthday could very well mean the end of financial support even if they still live with one of their parents full-time. However, if that teenager enrolls in college on a full-time basis, the state can extend the child support order in their case until they graduate from college or turn 23.

Of course, the amount of support owed to college students is often far lower than what it actually costs to send a young adult to college. Parents sometimes work out an agreement to cover college costs instead of relying on child support because child support amounts will typically be so much lower than what tuition, housing and other educational expenses will add up to each month.

If the parent who is paying support is not willing to contribute more than what the state orders, then extending the child support order may be the best way to reduce the financial burden on the other parent and the college student. Seeking legal guidance to better understand the rules about child support in New Jersey can make it easier for individuals to push for an appropriate support order based on their family’s circumstances.