Requesting College Expenses from Another Parent

Divorce & Family Matters
Requesting College Expenses from Another Parent

Requesting College Expenses from Another Parent in Northeast Indiana

College expenses can be incredibly costly, and a divorce or separation can make it harder to pay for a child’s college expenses. In some states, parents are not legally obligated to pay for college expenses. In Indiana, however, courts can order a child’s parent to pay for college-related costs. 

College Expenses Under the Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines

Under Indiana law, parents and children can petition the court to order non-custodial parents to contribute to college expenses as long as the child is younger than 19. For children under the age of 19, they or their parents must request the court to order contributions for college expenses from the parent before the child turns 19. Otherwise, they’ll automatically lose their legal right to request contributions. The money received can be used to pay for: 

  • School tuition
  • Laboratory fees
  • Books
  • Student activity fees
  • Other course-related supplies
  • Room and board if the child doesn’t live with either parent
  • Other college-related expenses the court deems appropriate

If the children and parents can’t agree on the division of college expenses, the child or either parent may ask a judge to determine the most appropriate way to divide the expenses. However, it is crucial to note that even if you come to an agreement with the other parent, you must file the agreement in court to make sure that all parties involved will be legally bound to follow it. The agreement must explain and specify the following elements for it to be enforceable: 

  • Definitions of all the covered expenses
  • The specific type of college that must be covered, such as a private school, public university, trade school, technical school, etc.
  • How and when payments must be made 
  • Where the child would live while attending school
  • Whether the child would be responsible for certain expenses
  • Whether the child must meet certain conditions to continue receiving payments, such as a specific grade point average (GPA) or good behavior, among others

Otherwise, once the child reaches age 19 or older, if you have not filed the agreement, the law prohibits you from seeking support for college expenses. Even if the other parent made an informal offer to pay but later changed their mind, without an official court order, they would not be required to help pay.

Factors Judges Consider When Calculating Support for College Expenses

Judges usually consider these factors when determining how much money a parent must provide for a child’s college expenses: 

  • Each parent’s financial capacity, debts, and resources, including their income, savings, pension plans, investments, etc.
  • Whether the child has access to financial assistance, such as a grant, scholarship, or loan
  • Each parent’s educational attainment
  • The child’s academic goals and interests
  • The child’s earning capacity while attending school
  • Whether the parents expected their child to go to college if they hadn’t separated or divorced

Talk to a Skilled Indiana Family Law Attorney Now

Do you need advice on requesting college expenses from your former spouse or a co-parent? Get in touch with the Indiana family law attorneys at Andrews & Crell, PC, today. Arrange your consultation by contacting us online or calling our office.

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