Child Support and Education Expenses in New Jersey
Educational expenses are only one part of child support obligations in New Jersey, but they are an important part. Schooling-related costs can be particularly steep for children attending private school, but children in public school still often have considerable expenses related to their education.
If you are going through a divorce, the educational needs of your children are likely a priority. Let an experienced attorney answer your questions regarding child support and educational expenses in New Jersey.
How Child Support is Determined
New Jersey uses a complex set of guidelines to calculate a parent’s child support obligations. While the amount determined by these guidelines is a starting point, the court has leeway to deviate from the suggested amount.
Calculating child support—both for educational expenses and all other costs—begins with a review of each spouse’s gross income. In addition to a spouse’s income, it is also important to note which parent has primary physical custody. A non-custodial parent will typically pay the custodial parent monthly support, and the amount will depend on their income. An attorney can explain child support calculations in more detail to a divorcing spouse.
What is K-12 Support?
For many New Jersey parents, the educational portion of child support parents covers children receiving elementary or secondary education. These children, who are between kindergarten and grade 12, are entitled to certain financial support depending on a variety of educational factors.
As is the case with all child support decisions, a judge evaluates educational expenses based on the child’s best interests. That said, there is no requirement that the judge must always award an amount of child support necessary to pay for the best, most expensive private schools in the area.
The judge must consider the options available to the child before making a decision. This starts with evaluating the public schools nearby as well as access to private schools. A judge will also evaluate a parent’s ability to pay child support towards educational expenses each month.
One of the most important factors is the child’s prior school history. Most judges will attempt to keep a child in the same school they have been attending when possible. Whether or not a child goes to expensive private school or enters public school will depend in part on where they attended previously.
Child Support for College Students
The obligation to provide for a child’s education does not end the moment they turn 18. In some cases, parents could continue to owe child support for an adult child enrolled in a college or university. In general, a parent has an obligation to continue supporting their child until they reach the age of 23 as long as that they are attending college.
There are numerous factors that a court will consider when deciding if a parent is obligated to pay for educational expenses for college. These factors include the child’s college goals, how reasonable their pursuit of a college education is, and their financial need to attend college. A knowledgeable NJ attorney can help a parent determine the child support amount that they owe or are owed for their child’s college education.
Speak with a New Jersey Attorney About Child Support and Educational Expenses
As a parent, educational expenses are only part of the financial obligation you have to your children. However, these expenses can be significant, and the decisions that determine how your child is educated are important.
A dedicated family law attorney can help ensure that you are treated fairly when the court makes these decisions. Reach out today to discuss child support and educational expenses in New Jersey with a dedicated lawyer at Moskowitz Law Group.