child writing notebook

In your divorce proceedings, the judge may order your child’s support plan to cover at least three important areas: their basic needs (i.e., food, clothing, and housing), their healthcare, and namely, their education. Your former spouse (i.e., the noncustodial parent) may presume they do not need to financially contribute towards your child’s education if they attend a publicly funded school. However, they may be sorely mistaken in this assumption. Read on to discover what educational expenses are included in a child support order and how a seasoned Morristown child support lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can fight to ensure your child is fairly and adequately funded.

What types of educational expenses are included in a child support order?

To reiterate, even if your child attends a state, government, or public school that does not charge tuition, many expenses still may be associated with their education. Therefore, their noncustodial parent still may be expected to contribute financially to the following educational expenses:

  • The cost of your child’s required school supplies, textbooks, and electronic devices.
  • The cost of the school bus or public transportation needed to get your child to school.
  • The cost of tolls, gas, and a parking pass needed for your child to drive themself to school.
  • The cost of after-school childcare until the custodial parent can finish at work and pick up your child.
  • The cost of your child’s after-school, extracurricular activities (i.e., musical instruments, sports equipment, etc).
  • The cost of your child’s after-school tutoring, if they require extra aid.
  • The cost of your child’s SAT registration and college application fees, if they wish to pursue higher education.

It is worth mentioning that the judge may order your child to remain at the school they attended while you and your former spouse were still married. That is, the noncustodial parent cannot fight to pull your child out of a private school that charges tuition to cut down on the educational expenses they are expected to cover. This is because the judge may try to maintain the lifestyle and normalcy your child grew accustomed to while you were still married.

Does a child support order cover the cost of a college education?

Generally speaking, the judge may set your child support order to end once your child reaches the legal age of 18. However, the exception is if your child expresses interest in pursuing higher education. Again, this may entail continual financial contribution towards their tuition, transportation, school supplies, textbooks, electronic devices, etc. However, this may add educational expenses unique to a college environment, such as room and board and a dining plan.

This may require you and your former spouse to return to the New Jersey family court and settle on a modified child support order for your child’s college education. When in doubt, someone at Graves Andrews, LLC will look into your case. So please retain the legal services of a competent Morristown family law attorney today.