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Does Child Support Extend to College Education?

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You may have assumed that you were toward the finish line of your child support obligation as your child is nearing the legal age of 18. However, this may be until your child informs you of their desire and intention to pursue a higher education after high school graduation.┬áRead on to discover whether your child support agreement extends to cover your child’s college education and how one of the seasoned Clarksville child support lawyers at Fendley and Etson can work to ensure you can reasonably afford this.

Does my child support agreement extend to my child’s college education?

Put simply, your child support agreement may extend after your child turns the legal age of 18 if they decide to go to college. There may even be a clause within your marital settlement agreement that confirms this. If not, you and your former spouse may have to return to the Tennessee family court if you cannot agree on this matter yourselves.

Of note, the only other common reason why this financial obligation would be extended is if your child has a physical or mental disability.

Under what circumstances do I not have to pay for my child’s college?

You may be proud of your child for wanting to earn an advanced degree. But in the back of your mind, you may be worried about your financial capability to help them achieve this.

That is, your marital settlement agreement may order you and your former spouse to contribute an amount of child support that is equivalent to your percentage of combined income. So, if you make 30 percent of your combined income, you may be expected to pay 30 percent of your child’s expenses. While this may have been manageable for you thus far, your child’s expenses may inevitably increase once they start college. Namely, there is the standard tuition and room and board, not to mention their required technological devices, textbooks, and more.

Therefore, you may believe you cannot reasonably afford to pay for your child’s college education at this rate. In this case, you may have to petition a post-judgment modification with the Tennessee family court. Here, you may have a burden of proof in establishing how your financial circumstances have changed since the original child support order was established.

Otherwise, there are only certain circumstances in which you may fight not to pay for your child’s college education entirely. Specifically, this is if your child became emancipated before 18, got married, or enlisted in the armed forces. Though more difficult, you may attempt to argue that your child has no desire to attend college but is rather being obligated to do so by your former spouse.

When in doubt, someone at Fendley and Etson will look into your case. So please retain the legal services of one of the competent Clarksville family lawyers today.