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College Expenses & Divorce in New York

Who should pay for your child's education after a divorce?

Paying for college is difficult for many families and is even more difficult when the parents are separated or divorced. When a child applies for college it is a stressful experience and adding to that stress is the child’s awareness that their choice of college could result in another conflict between parents over who is going to pay the college costs.

In some cases the costs for college are addressed in either a separation agreement or stipulation of settlement in a divorce action or in a New York Family Court Order issued by a Support Magistrate. It is also common that due to the young age of the children at the time of divorce or separation that college expenses or costs are not addressed until the children are in their final years of High School.

New York College Expense Laws

Prior to entering into any agreement regarding college expenses it is important to understand the laws of New York State with respect to college expenses.

In general, requiring parents to pay for college expenses involves a review of several factors including the child’s academic ability, the child’s interest, the child’s likely choices and preferences for a college education and the projected costs involved. The Court’s also consider the parents educational background, if the child went to a high school where the majority of students go to college and the income and assets of the parents. Lastly, the court will want to know if the issue of college costs and college selection were discussed between the parents and the child.

Important Issues in a College Expenses Case

  • Is there an agreement regarding college expenses?
  • Have all the terms of the agreement been satisfied?
  • Have the parents and child discussed the selection of college?
  • Has the child obtained any scholarships?
  • Has the child obtained any student loans?
  • Will the child be involved in work-study programs?
  • What are the actual costs of college? Including supporting documentation.
  • Has the SUNY cap been applied?

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If you are seeking college expenses for your child or wish to challenge alleged college expenses, we are here to protect your rights and the rights of your family.

Contacts us online or by telephone at (914) 840-5104 to speak with a Westchester County divorce attorney.

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