In today’s day and age, the obligations that parents have to their children often go far beyond food, clothing, and shelter. Succeeding in today’s competitive economy also requires children to have access to high-quality education, the ability to participate in extracurriculars, and the opportunity to attend college.
While most parents think of child support as applying only to children when they are young, moms and dads are increasingly expected to not only support their kids in their younger years, but also to help foot the bill when the time comes for them to attend a college or university.
Child Support Requirements in Rancho Cucamonga
In California, the obligation to pay child support for a child ends when the child turns 18 – 19 if they are in high school. There is no requirement that divorced parents continue to provide support to a child after they are legally an adult, unless the child is disabled.
This means that absent a specific court order or agreement between the parties, California courts typically will not require a parent to contribute to the college education of their child, even if one parent has decided to do so. The decision to contribute is considered to be a voluntary one.
What to Do If You Anticipate Your Child Going to College
Increasingly, most parents expect that their children will eventually attend college. Among those fortunate enough to be able to do so, the expectation is also that the parents will pay the tuition bill. Where one divorcing parent intends to contribute to a child’s higher education and wants the other parent to assist, the easiest way to do so is to reach an agreement to this effect during the divorce process.
When going through a divorce, parties will have the ability to put together a marital settlement agreement. In this settlement agreement they can set forth the terms of their divorce, including how custody is to be arranged and how property will be divided. Parents can also decide, if they wish, to make provisions for how future college expenses will be handled.
For example, the parents may agree to how the college expenses will be divided, by percentage, no matter where the child ends up going. Or the spouses may agree to contribute a certain amount of money toward college while requiring the child to take out loans for the remainder. Almost any type of arrangement is possible as long as the parties agree.
California Attorneys Anticipating Future Child Support Expenses
If you anticipate that your child will go to college and want to make sure that the expenses of a college education are adequately covered in your divorce, the best thing to do is to propose an agreement during your divorce to this effect. The agreement may be as detailed as you would like, but should consider all possible higher education scenarios.
At CKB Vienna, LLP, our family law attorneys can assist you in developing a strategy to tackle these types of questions head on, and can help you draft an agreement that will memorialize arrangements for the future in writing. If you’re looking for assistance through the divorce process, contact us online or at (909) 980-1040.