In New Jersey, child support orders can and often do consider the educational needs of a child. This can include primary and secondary school tuition at a private or religious school, as well as college expenses and other post-secondary school costs. The educational expenses of raising a child can vary widely depending on the situation of the family. New Jersey child support orders are designed to take these expenses into account, which is why you want to be specific about how much money goes into each child’s schooling and expenses each year. After your divorce, costs related to primary and secondary school tuition at a private or religious school, and even college expenses, are handled through your child support order.
Elementary and Secondary School
The family court system has some leeway in determining whether public or private school expenses will be covered by a child support order. As with other decisions, this one is based on the best interests of the child, and includes such factors as the quality of public schools in the area, the ability of parents to pay, and the educational history of the child to-date. An experienced family law attorney can help elucidate some of these issues in court and ensure protection of you and your family’s interests.
College and Other Post-Secondary Education
Once the child graduates from high school, the calculation for educational expenses becomes a bit more complicated. In a past case (Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529, 1982), the New Jersey Supreme Court defined specific factors to be considered when ordering child support for children attending college or other post-secondary education. These factors include:
- Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education;
- The effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education;
- The amount of the contribution sought by the child for higher education;
- The ability of the parent to pay that cost;
- The relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;
- The financial resources of both parents;
- The commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;
- The financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust;
- The ability of the child to earn income during vacation or throughout the school year;
- The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans;
- The child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance;
- The relationship of the education requested to any prior training and the overall long-range goals of the child; and
- Contribution made to household expenses by the current spouse of either parent.
A new law, effective February 1, 2017 establishes conclusively that even for children enrolled full-time in higher education, child support orders do not apply beyond a child’s 23rd For more information on this law, see: New Jersey Emancipation of Children.
Help with Educational Expenses
If you and your spouse are in agreement about educational expenses, our child support lawyers can draft the support documents to include these expenses. If you do not agree, the case may need to be brought to a New Jersey family court judge for a decision. Here is where experienced representation can help you secure the proper order for your child, and for your continued financial solvency.
Assistance with All Educational-Related Issues
Our attorneys will help you gather the necessary documentation to support your position regarding educational costs and expenses, private school tuition, and post-secondary school expenses, and all aspects of child support. Take the first step. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation: (888) 888-0919.