Who Pays for College After A New Jersey Divorce?

Divorce is a difficult process, and planning for your children’s college education can be a significant source of stress in the midst of an already challenging time. Here in New Jersey, the law regarding college contributions in divorce settlements is nuanced, and a recent court case underscores the importance of clear agreements.

The Legal Landscape in New Jersey:

New Jersey courts prioritize a child’s best interests, and that can include financial support for college. However, the specific details surrounding this support are not always cut-and-dried. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Child Support and College:
    New Jersey child support is typically modifiable upon a child leaving home and attending college. This modification considers factors like college costs, your income and any scholarships or financial aid your child receives.
  • Emancipation: (link to Service page on emancipation)
    In February 2017, New Jersey updated its laws on emancipation. A minor is considered legally emancipated at the age of 19 unless:

    • They require continued support due to a documented disability.
    • They remain enrolled in high school, a technical school or full-time undergraduate/graduate studies.
    • There’s an existing court-ordered child support agreement specifying a different age.

Contact Jersey Coast Family Law for a consultation
with an Ocean and Monmouth County child support lawyer (732) 361-4718

The Importance of a Clear College Provision

The recent case of Rasmussen v. Rasmussen (July 13, 2021) highlights the importance of having a well-defined college contribution clause in your divorce settlement.  In this case, the father appealed a court order requiring him to reimburse the mother for tuition costs and medical expenses. The reason? The divorce agreement lacked specific details regarding college contributions. Don’t let this happen to you!

A clear and detailed college provision in your divorce settlement protects everyone involved. It establishes the expectations for both parents and helps avoid disagreements and financial strain down the road.

Embed YT video of Abby discussing college child support

Here’s How We Can Help Navigate This Complex Issue:

  • Understanding Your Obligations and Rights: Our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure your agreement reflects a fair contribution based on your financial situation, your child’s needs and current New Jersey child support guidelines.
  • Negotiating a College Provision: We’ll guide you through the negotiation process, ensuring all bases are covered. This includes considering factors such as:
    • The estimated cost of college at the time of your divorce.
    • Expected future inflation in college costs.
    • Potential financial aid and scholarships your child may qualify for.
    • The type of college your child may attend (public, private, in-state, out-of-state).
    • 529 Plans: We’ll discuss the potential benefits of establishing 529 college savings plans for your children. These plans offer tax advantages for saving towards educational expenses.
  • Adapting to Changing Circumstances: Life throws curveballs, and your financial situation may change over time. We’ll help you understand how you can modify your agreement based on significant changes in income or your child’s enrollment status.
  • Protecting Your Assets: We’ll work diligently to ensure your college contribution obligation is fair and reflects your financial reality.

Benefits of Working with an Experienced New Jersey Family Law & Child Support Attorney

  • Clarity and Peace of Mind:
    A well-crafted college provision in your divorce settlement provides clarity and avoids future disputes.
  • Protecting Your Child’s Future:
    You want to ensure your child has the opportunity to pursue higher education without undue financial strain.
  • Experienced Guidance:
    Our attorneys have extensive experience navigating the complexities of college contributions in divorce settlements. We understand the New Jersey legal landscape and will effectively represent your interests.

What to Expect When You Contact Us

  • Free Consultation:
    We offer a free consultation to discuss your specific situation and answer your questions. This is a valuable opportunity to learn about your options and get a sense of how we can help.
  • Compassionate & Collaborative Approach:
    Divorce can be emotionally charged, and we’ll provide compassionate support throughout the process. We believe in collaborative problem-solving and will work with you to reach an agreement that is fair and beneficial for all parties involved.
  • Clear Communication:
    We’ll keep you informed every step of the way, clearly explaining legal complexities and advocating for your best interests.

Learn More: Shared Responsibilities: Divorced Parents and College Expenses in New Jersey (insert blog link)

Move Forward with Confidence:
Contact Our Ocean and Monmouth County Child Support Attorneys

Where Family Comes First

College is a significant financial investment, and planning for your children’s education during a divorce doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  With the right legal guidance, you can secure a clear and fair agreement that protects your interests and supports your child’s future.

Contact our experienced Jersey Coast Family Law and Child Support Attorneys today to schedule your free consultation. Our dedicated New Jersey family law attorneys have offices in Toms River and Red Bank and serve clients throughout New Jersey.

Meet Our Team

Abigale M Stolfe, Esq

Abigale M Stolfe, Esq.

Heather Capp, Esq

Heather Capp, Esq.
Managing Attorney

Experienced In Fearlessly Fighting For Our Clients Best Interests

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With legal experience handling complex divorce and family law matters—especially those involving business owners, executives, asset owners, and their spouses—our legal team has the proven ability to fearlessly protect our clients’ best interests.

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Well-Versed in Executing Complex Cases

Jersey Coast Family Law have extensive knowledge in divorce litigation and family law mediation matters, from pre-nuptial agreements and post-judgment litigation. Our team has reached countless favorable resolutions on behalf of individuals involved in high-net-worth, complex, and litigious cases. As dedicated family lawyers, our goal is to guide our clients to the right path towards emotional and financial resolution.

We have repeatedly provided trusted legal counsel, with the solid goal of de-mystifying what is often a client’s first experience with our judicial system.