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Can child support help cover college tuition costs?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Child Support

Families with children in California usually want to pursue the best life possible for their kids, and that dream often requires an expensive education. Professional adults and hard-working individuals of every socio-economic class in California usually recognize the importance of a college degree and want to give their children that option once they finish high school. They may start saving when the children are young and push them to academic or athletic achievements in pursuit of scholarships.

However, paying for college can still be a major challenge despite partial financial aid, especially if parents who have to fund the education also need to maintain two separate households because of a divorce. While the children are still young, the parent who has more time with them can generally rely on child support to help them maintain the standard of living that they have enjoyed throughout the marriage. Can California parents count on child support to help them cover college costs when their children are older?

Child support orders end before college

Although those who have recently become adults or finished high school typically do not have the ability or resources to live independently, they no longer have a right to child support when they finish their secondary education. California child support typically ends either when a young adult turns 18. However, it can last until a young adult turns 19 if they remain unmarried and are still enrolled full-time in high school.

The California family courts will not order either parent to assist a young adult with their college expenses. Thankfully, parents do have the opportunity of reaching an agreement with one another that addresses college tuition costs. They may be able to make an arrangement to split those expenses in the future after child support technically ends. After all, the income of both parents will typically influence how much financial aid the child qualifies for on a needs-based basis. Parents who can set aside their frustrations with each other may be able to help their children achieve their dreams even though the family changes while they are still young.

Learning more about the rules for child support in California may help parents set reasonable goals and more effectively negotiate with their co-parent concerning financial priorities that may affect their kids well into the future.