College expenses and divorce are stressful subjects, even when handled separately. Some parents believe that once a child turns 18, they are adults and liable for their own expenses. As such, they never plan for those costs.
Unfortunately, that lack of preparation can leave young adults vulnerable to high interest rates on some student loans, a delay in obtaining education or even prevent them from attending college altogether if funds cannot be obtained. Especially in cases where a divorce takes place right when a child is nearing high school graduation.
In Florida, a parent cannot be held legally responsible for education costs once a child has turned 19, or has turned 18 and graduated from high school. This highlights the essential importance of addressing education expenses within a custody and child support agreement.
If parents cannot come to an agreement on their own, a judge will decide how much each should contribute based on factors such as ability to pay, what the child’s future academic goals are and how much other financial assistance may be available. Even still, if a parent simply refuses to contribute to education expenses after the age of 18, he or she would be within their legal rights within our state.
It is so important to remember that children should not have to unduly suffer because a marriage did not work out. It is best to put aside one’s differences long enough to provide what is best, and allow the children involved the opportunity of a successful career. If it’s not clear how best to do this, consulting with an experienced child support attorney can be an important step in the right direction. Such an advocate can offer creative solutions in helping those going through a divorce reach an agreement where both parents can comfortably contribute to a child’s future.