Are you negotiating your divorce? Are you a parent who shares children with your soon-to-be ex? Then it is likely that you are trying to determine the details of financially supporting your children going forward.
Will you be the custodial parent or will you share custody with the other parent? Any child support agreement will touch upon these basic issues. One issue that many individuals may not immediately think of is post-secondary support of the child after he or she turns 18 years of age.
State laws can vary
State laws on this type of young adult support vary. In Arizona, the state has no specific statutes mandating this type of support, but a court will support you in enforcing a post-secondary agreement. Some other states allow or require a parent to continue support if a child is in college. At least one state prohibits mandatory post-secondary support. The vast majority of states do not have current policies for college payments, so perhaps the concept is new to some families.
What is post-secondary support?
Post-secondary support is child support payments toward college tuition. Sometimes the payments are made directly to the educational institution, while in other situations, the payments are sent directly to the child. Typically, the student will need to enroll in the higher education institution soon after graduating high school.
Selecting the right amount of support
Many factors will go into choosing the right amount of support for your child. In Arizona, the creation of a post-secondary support agreement falls on the parents, so you and your ex will determine what is appropriate. You will need to negotiate what is feasible and how the burden is to be shared between the two of you.
You will most likely want to evaluate many of the factors considered by state courts that are entitled to order post-secondary agreements, including the following:
- Both you and your soon-to-be ex's current standard of living
- The type of education your child is seeking
- How much support the child would have received if you had remained together with your partner
- The age of your child
- Your child's needs
- Both you and your former partner's expectations and plans for your child when you were together
There aren't always easy answers for post-secondary support orders; however, there are resources available to you who can make the process much less daunting. Having a strong legal advocate on your side during this challenging time can prove invaluable toward ensuring your child will be receiving the proper amount of financial support going forward.