How does a divorcing couple handle college tuition in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Divorce |

When a couple gets divorced, both parents are still responsible for taking care of the child’s physical, emotional, and financial needs. For example, both parents will generally make sure to contribute to their child’s education.

If you have children in high school, you know that college is right around the corner. As a result, you may be wondering whether you and your ex, as divorced parents, are required to contribute anything towards your child’s future tuition and other expenses. In the case of Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529, the Supreme Court determined that divorced parents are generally required to contribute financially to their child’s college future.

How much do I have to pay for my child’s college?

College tuition and fees, room and board, transportation costs, school supplies, textbooks, and other college-related expenses can quickly add up. The Newburgh case lists several factors for courts to consider when determining how much each parent should contribute to their child’s college and how much should be paid. These factors include:

  • Child’s relationship with each parent
  • Parents’ finances
  • Cost of college
  • Possible financial aid and scholarships, as well as the ability of the child to earn income during school or while on vacation form school
  • Whether the non-custodial parent would contribute to college expenses if they still lived with the child
  • Whether the parents have other children who will possibly go to college

If the issue of parental college contributions is addressed in your divorce settlement agreement, the terms of the agreement will likely stand. However, if you did not address the issue in your agreement, the court will decide what percentage of the college costs each parent will have to cover based on the above factors.