Heidi E. Opinsky

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College Expenses

Divorce College Expenses And Post-Majority Support In Connecticut And New York

In Connecticut, the child support guidelines provide for a parent to support a child until he or she is 18 years or graduates high school, but not beyond 19 years of age, whichever last occurs. Pursuant to New York law, a noncustodial parent will provide support until a child attains 21 years of age, which may be extended by agreement, particularly when the child is in college. However, both Connecticut and New York have provisions that direct the payment of support toward a child’s college expenses, based on individual assessments of the parents and child’s situation.

At The Law Offices of Heidi E. Opinsky, our divorce firm’s leading Connecticut and New York divorce attorney Heidi E. Opinsky and her dedicated team of legal professionals work hard to obtain the best results for moderate to high net worth individuals who are in the process of divorcing, need to enforce an existing order or believe that a payment modification is warranted. In addition, her practice involves post-judgment orders to address matters such as post-majority and educational support and other important factors.

Ms. Opinsky is dedicated to getting the best outcome for her clients and their families, and encourages you to call her today to learn more about divorce college expenses and how she can make a difference for you.

Important Factors To Consider Regarding Post-Majority Support and Divorce College Expenses

Although there are some differences between Connecticut and New York law, both states encourage providing for post-majority and educational support orders such as divorce college expenses. Some of the many factors considered by the courts in both states include the following:

  • Whether the parents are in agreement on the educational support plan and whether they would have provided for college expenses if their marriage remained intact
  • Whether the parents have sufficient income and assets to provide for college expenses
  • What the college expenses of the child are and whether there are other financial obligations for dependents of the parents
  • Whether the child has obtained any scholarships, grants or student loans
  • The reasonableness for higher education considering the educational aptitude and abilities of the child
  • Whether there are any plans for the child to contribute to the college expenses
  • Whether there are other financial vehicles in place to contribute to college expenses such as trusts, 529 plans, UGMA/UTMA and custodial accounts

It is important for the divorcing parties to address the educational expenses during the initial divorce, even if the intent is to reconsider the issue when the children are older, in order to maintain the jurisdiction of the court over this matter. If this is not done, it may not be possible to force a parent to contribute to college expenses, depending on the state. In Connecticut, if it is not included as part of the divorce order, a person cannot seek funding for college expenses at a later time. However, in New York, a party can seek to modify the divorce order relating to this issue at a later time.

When parents are seeking a divorce in Connecticut, the court will examine the plan of the parents to address the necessary post-majority support and divorce college expenses of the child, including the tuition, room, board, books, fees and other necessary costs to attend college, based upon the amount of money spent to send a student to the University of Connecticut as a full-time resident on campus. The parents may voluntarily increase the amount of post-majority and educational support that will be provided. If the parents have committed to support for higher education, but have not included details about the educational plan at the time of the divorce due to the age of the child, the court may retain jurisdiction over the matter to address the issue at a time when the children are closer to attending college.

In New York, a court will address divorce college expenses similar to a Connecticut court, except in New York, there is no statutory imposed State University of New York (SUNY) cap. Divorcing parents may seek to apply this cap in New York agreements, particularly given the exorbitant tuition costs for private colleges and universities. In the absence of an agreement, a New York court is free to order a parent to pay for college in its discretion, considering many factors, including the educational backgrounds of the parents, the projected costs as well as the income and assets of the parents. The court will also consider whether there were discussions between the parents and the child about going to college and how the parents would contribute to that goal.

Divorce And Family Law Attorney Representing Individuals In Connecticut And New York

When a moderate to high net worth individual seeks a divorce, there are issues that may arise at the time of divorce, or years later, that relate to the post-majority and continuing educational orders on behalf of their children.

We are experienced in fulfilling the needs of our clients and ensuring the children receive the support they deserve. To learn more about the comprehensive services we offer, contact attorney Heidi E. Opinsky divorce firm today at 203-653-3542 to schedule a confidential consultation.