Education is often the key that opens professional doors. If you are a parent, you probably want your kids to attend college. After all, in New Jersey, graduates of four-year institutions typically earn around $50,000 per year early in their careers and about $90,000 per year later. Further, college tends to expose young adults to a variety of experiences.
College can be almost unconscionably expensive. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education, the average cost per year to attend a four-year school in the United States for the 2016-2017 academic year was more than $26,000. If you share custody of your children with a former partner, you may wonder which co-parent pays for college tuition and other educational expenses.
College expenses in New Jersey
Unlike most other states, New Jersey law does not consider children emancipated when they turn 18. On the contrary, parents must continue to support their kids throughout their college years. In determining how much a parent must pay, courts look at 12 factors. These include, among other things, a parent’s ability to pay and a child’s aptitude or willingness to attend college.
Custody agreements and parenting plans
Because you likely have an obligation to support the young ones in your family until they finish college, you must think proactively about your financial responsibilities. That is, you probably want to address post-high school expenses in your custody agreement or parenting plan. Still, if a significant number of years have passed since you negotiated the agreement, you may need to seek modification. Put simply, circumstances may have changed sufficiently to warrant revisiting your financial obligations.
Because parents have a duty to support their kids during college in New Jersey, both you and your ex-spouse may have to provide funds for tuition and other expenses. To ensure that you pay your fair share, though, you must have a well-written custody agreement or parenting plan.