5 College Contribution Myths

Family Law

College expensesThere are many misconceptions about who’s responsible for a child’s college costs when the parents never married (or are divorced.) The Law Offices of Lynda Hinkle is your Family Law Specialist. That includes sorting out College Contribution myths for unmarried or divorces couples.

5 Common Myths About College Contribution:

Myth 1: We were never married, so I can’t ask my co-parent for help paying for our child’s college expenses.

Truth: New Jersey law does not treat the children of unmarried couples any differently with respect to college contribution than they do the children of divorced or separated couples.

Myth 2:  We didn’t make a plan for how we were going to pay for college expenses when we got divorced. It must be too late now.

Truth: College expenses can be addressed during divorce proceedings. Sometimes a “Property Settlement Agreement” or “Marital Settlement Agreement” will contain a plan for how parents want to address college expenses (or at least indicate that they do intend the child to go to college). But this is not always included, particularly when children are very young when the parents divorce. College costs not being addressed at the time of divorce does not prevent either parent for asking for college contribution later on.

Myth 3: My co-parent already told me they weren’t going to help pay for our children to go to college, so it’s useless to ask for help.

Truth: College contribution is a legal obligation that may be imposed on a parent in New Jersey. Simply proclaiming “I am not going to pay a dime for our child to attend college” does not suddenly change the law!

Myth 4: My child and I can pick any college we want and my co-parent will have to pay for half of it no matter what we pick.

Truth: It is very risky to assume you and your child can pick whatever college you want and count on the other parent having to pay half the costs after the fact, particularly when the co-parent has not been included in the decision making process.

Myth 5: My child’s step-parent or grandparents should have to contribute to college costs.

Truth:  Many grandparents make provisions for their grandchildren’s educations. And many stepparents are wonderful people who love their step-children and want to help them go to college. But step-parents, grandparents, and other relatives have no legal obligation to provide for a child. Only the child’s biological and/or adoptive parents have a legal requirement to do so, and that includes paying for college.

Law Offices of Lynda Hinkle specializes in Family Law. We’re here to help you protect your child’s education. Call 856-227-7888 to discuss your legal options. (We’re also on Facebook!)

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