Parents in New Jersey May Have Responsibility for College Tuition
The state of New Jersey has long been a proponent of higher education, with the courts regularly issuing rulings requiring parents to for a child’s college education, provided they have the appropriate resources. That includes parents who remain married or parents who terminate a marriage. Accordingly, if you are involved in a New Jersey divorce proceeding, you need to work with legal counsel to ensure that your property settlement identifies the amount each party will contribute toward your child’s college education.
The New Jersey courts consider a range of factors when establishing responsibility for college tuition payments:
- The financial resources of both parents
- The amount of contribution sought by the child for education
- Whether or not it is reasonable to expect that the child would go to college, given the values and background of the parents
- The aptitude for and commitment of the student for the specific course of study
- Any financial resources of the child
- In cases of divorce, whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have made contributions to defray the costs of a college education
- Whether the amount requested is reasonable in light of the type of study or specific school the child will attend
- The child’s potential earning power while in school and on summer breaks
- Any financial aid that may be available to the child
- The relationship between the parent and child, including shared goals and values, as well as the child’s adherence to parental training, advice and guidance
- Whether the requested education reasonably relates to the child’s overall long-term career objectives
In some situations, the parent’s responsibility to pay college tuition may even extend to graduate or professional school. At least one New Jersey court has held that a father was required to provide support for his daughter until she finished law school.
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