College Expenses For Child Support
Can a court order a parent to pay for college expenses, and if so, at what rate?
By statute in Missouri, a court must enter a detailed Parenting Plan with regard to any custody judgment, and that Parenting Plan must include provisions for paying for the expenses of the child, which includes education. So yes – a court can, and arguably should, set out a means for paying the college tuition of a child.
Generally, courts look at the relative income shares of the parties as set out in the child support calculations, in addition to other property and funds, when considering the contribution each parent must make to the payment of college expenses (tuition and room and board).
Just because you have an obligation to contribute to the college education of your child does not mean you have to pay to send your child to an expensive private university. The court will look at the relative wealth and incomes of each parent and determine what a reasonable tuition amount would be, with tuition at a state university as a good benchmark of affordability.
Parties can also agree to share college expenses, both as to proportional contributions and tuition caps, in a settlement agreement.
Courts could even assure that a child has a college fund by requiring parents make proportionate contributions on a monthly basis to a college fund like MOST, the 529 program that allows for tax-free contributions.
Only a skilled and experienced attorney in family law can properly advise you as to the various options you have with regard to the payment of college expenses.
At The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C, we have over fifty years of combined experience handling family law matters. We help individuals understand their rights with regard to all issues, including payment of college expenses. We do all required discovery, and will try your case before the judge if we cannot reach a settlement. We have handled hundreds of trials before family court judges; if you choose The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C., you will have the benefit of a family law attorney unafraid to go to court, advocate on your behalf and fully present your case.
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