Paying for College

Summer is almost over. The Fall collegiate semester is about  to commence. And even as families throughout New Jersey make last-minute preparations to send their children to college, presumably they have long since taken steps to foot the ever-mounting tuition and related expenses.

The responsibility to contribute to college expenses may be especially daunting in families where the parents are divorced, or in the midst of a divorce. While viewed as a form of child support, there is no formulaic approach as to how to allocate the responsibility to contribute to college between divorced parents and, perhaps, the college student as well. Instead, New Jersey courts look to several factors when there is a dispute with regard to the allocation of college expenses, including:

  • The parents’ respective financial circumstances;
  • The child’s academic aptitude and achievement;
  • The selection of an appropriate college (both in terms of expense and reputation);
  • The availability of financial aid and other funding sources; and
  • The child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent where that parent is being asked to make a significant contribution.

Suffice it to say, in situations involving divorce where there is an expectation that there are children who will be attending college (whether immediately or in the future), it is imperative to obtain legal guidance from a qualified professional with regard to the allocation of the attendant college expenses. Our matrimonial team at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP handles these issues on a regular basis and we welcome your inquiry.