Who is responsible for college tuition after divorce?

Some of the most difficult issues divorcing parents face involve the care of their children. Georgia courts will help determine which parent should have physical custody of the child and require that the non-custodial parent pay child support. While most parents know they will have to pay child support, many might be wondering whether they also have a legal duty to contribute financially to their child’s college tuition after divorce.

What does child support in Georgia cover?

Many people mistakenly believe that child support only covers the child’s basic necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter. However, child support covers a variety of expenses, as discussed in the Georgia child support guidelines.

For example, child support may cover health care, entertainment costs, transportation, and school expenses, in addition to the basics. The idea is to make sure that children have the same opportunities that they would have if their parents were still together.

When do child support payments end?

Generally, parents must provide for their children until they legally enter adulthood. According to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(e), a parent’s child support obligation stops under the when the child turns 18, dies, marries, or is emancipated. However, support may continue until child is 20, if the child is still in high school.

Does a child support order include college tuition payments in Georgia?

College tuition costs are not usually part of a basic child support order, meaning that Georgia courts will likely unable to order a parent to contribute to a child’s college education.

However, not all parents are off the hook when it comes to paying for college. If a parent chooses to include a provision discussing these costs in their divorce contracts, the courts can enforce and honor those agreements. For example, if your spouse agrees to pay for your eight-year-old child’s future college expenses during your divorce, the courts will mandate that your ex-spouse pay tuition.

If you decide to include a college costs provision in your marital agreement, make sure that it is clear and specific. For example, you may include a condition that limits your contribution to colleges under a certain tuition amount per year.

The provision should also describe what expenses you agree to cover. If the provision is open-ended, courts could interpret college expenses to include not just tuition and room and board, but transportation, computer costs, insurance, books, and clothing allowances.

Contact a Gwinnett County Lawyer to Help You With Child Support Orders 

When determining child custody and child support agreements, Georgia courts will focus on the best interests of the child. Gwinnett County child support attorney David Ward will ensure that both you and your children get what you rightly deserve.

Work with The Ward Law Firm for help drafting agreements and ensuring they are fair and in your and your child’s best interests.

Contact David at 770-383-1973 to schedule your REAL Case Analysis today.