Some people assume that child support obligations end when a child joins college, but that is not necessarily the case. Below are some of the cases where child support obligations may continue during the college years.
State Laws Call for Support
Child support laws vary by state. Some states explicitly call for child support for children in college. Other states absolve parents from child support when children are in their college years. Other states also handle the issues on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, you will still be obligated to pay child support if the laws expressly call for it.
The Child Is Incapacitated
You may have to support your college child if the child is disabled—either physically or mentally. The rationale is that children with disabilities need more support than those without disabilities. For example, if your child is partially paralyzed, they may be entitled to your support during their college years.
You Have an Existing Agreement
Some parents create agreements that call for child support during the college years. This can be a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement, or form part of the divorce agreement. In such a case, you will be obligated to make the support payments as long as the agreement is legally binding.
The Child Hasn't Reached the Age of Majority
In many states, it is not the educational state of the child, but rather their age, that determines when child support ends. Such states typically have laws that call for child support until a child reaches the age of majority (becomes an adult). The age of majority can be as low as 18 years or as high as 21 years. In such a case, you have to pay child support if the child has not reached the age of majority even if the child is in college.
The Child is a Full-time Student
Most states require a child to be enrolled as a full-time student (or to have gained admission as a full-time student) to receive child support. The child may even be required to be in good standing with the school. This means you might be excused from child support obligations if your child is working part-time and attending college part-time.
The Child is Unmarried
Lastly, you will only be required to pay child support to your unmarried children. When a child gets married, they become emancipated even if they are still younger than the age of majority. The emancipation means the child is no longer entitled to your financial support and is also not subject to your control.
For more information, get in touch with law firms like Cooper Levenson Attorneys At Law.
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