When going through a divorce, you may find that you and your spouse struggle to agree on much of anything regarding the custody of your children or how you split up the assets and debts you’ve accumulated during the marriage.
However, chances are good that you both still want the best possible future for the children you share, which will include a solid education and likely college, depending on their career plans and goals. Although you may agree on the idea of college, you may have different ideas about what is fair and reasonable when it comes to paying for college after a divorce.
Trying to keep things civil for the sake of the children is often easier when both parents are on the same page regarding their expectations and responsibilities. College costs, in particular, can prove to be a sticking point for parents negotiating a parenting plan and child support in New Jersey. Understanding how the state views child support in cases of college attendance particularly can make it easier to agree on terms.
New Jersey does not have an age of support termination
In many states, the parent paying child support knows their obligation will end either when the child turns 18 or, if the child has yet to graduate from high school, when they turn 19 or graduate. New Jersey, however, does not automatically terminate child support when someone finishes high school.
Some parents will request the termination of child support at the age of 18, but not all of these efforts are successful. The courts may order a parent to continue paying child support for as long as the child remains dependent on their parents. The person paying support may have to continue paying it until their child is 23. The custodial parent and the courts will review the circumstances along with the parent paying support to try to find the best solution for the child involved if the parents don’t agree.
You can agree now to split college costs instead of relying on support
If you decide to stay married, you and your ex will likely contribute to a savings plan that covers the cost of college for your child. If you agree that college will give your child the best potential future, you should also be able to agree that you each have a responsibility to contribute to the costs associated with that higher education.
Agreeing to set aside money in a savings account for when your child goes away to school is one easy way to manage college expenses after a divorce. Alternatively, you can agree to continue to pay child support or collect it until your student finishes college or reaches the age of 23.