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Do you still owe child support if your child goes to college?

The short answer is yes. Generally you will continue to owe support while your child is in college. Most people understand that child support ends once he or she hits 18. But this rule is relaxed if your child is pursuing higher education. In some cases, the court will order continued payments to support your child through their pursuit of higher education. This article will address the general factors that the court will consider to order continued support.

Like most issues considering support, the court will take a holistic view of the situation. But it will pay special attention to the following issues:

  • Your child's academic performance and acuity. The more likely your child is to go to college, the more likely support will be ordered.
  • The financial resources of the parents, how able you are to continue paying support.
  • The standard of living your child would have enjoyed if the divorce had not occurred.
  • The financial resources of the child, how able he or she is able to support themselves.

Your obligation to pay support ends once your child is "emancipated." This can occur on their 18th birthday, before their 18th birthday or after they graduate college. Children are considered self, sufficient or "emancipated" when they get their degree. But if your child is taking an unusual amount of time to graduate, it is possible to seek a modification prior to graduation.

If your child is going away to college then you may be able to get a modification of the support order. If you are seeking an order then you may want to speak with an attorney. Modification orders are possible but you must submit proof and arguments justifying the modification. An attorney can help you prepare your paperwork.

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