Divorced parents are frequently compelled by Courts to contribute to their children’s college expenses. There have been a number of significant decisions in New Jersey that determines whether and what the parents contribute to a child’s college education, and, if so, how these expenses should be allocated between the parents and the child. In determining parents’ contribution to college expenses, in addition to any other factors the Court considers relevant, a Court will consider all of the 12 Newburgh factors (Newburgh v. Arrigo).
- Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education;
- The effect of the background values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education;
- The amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education;
- The ability of the parent to pay that cost;
- The relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;
- The financial resources of both parents;
- The commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;
- The financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust;
- The ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation;
- The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans;
- The child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and
- The relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child.
Once a Court weighs all of the factors of the case, each parent may be ordered to pay a certain percentage of college expenses. College costs include tuition, room, and board, and can include other expenses such as college preparation courses, application fees, necessary school supplies, and transportation to and from school. Issues dealing with the cost of college tuition (expensive vs. less expensive options), estranged relationships between parent and child, and other circumstances that may occur on a case by case basis will be decided by the Court. Brick Law can assist in the process of obtaining support for a child’s college expenses or defending an application for providing supporting a child’s college expenses, as well as especially addressing these payments conjunction with any child support obligations.