Many people across the United States desire the opportunity to seek higher education. High school encourages students to study hard, apply for colleges and universities, and figure out what they want their futures to look like. While education is important and many career paths require a bachelor’s degree, college can be very expensive. Without help from scholarships or financial aid, many students resort to taking out loans or working multiple jobs to keep up with tuition costs. Some states have laws that allow a judge to force a divorced parent to pay for their child’s college education. While many parents want to help their children fund their education, many do not have the financial resources to do so. For assistance with your child support negotiations and to ensure your parental rights are protected, work with a Montgomery County child support lawyer.

What Expenses Can Child Support Cover?

Child support payments are designed to help the parent with custody financially support the needs of their child. These court-ordered payments can cover a variety of expenses including:

  • Food and water
  • Education expenses (preschool through high school)
  • Clothing
  • Health insurance and medical care
  • Housing
  • Transportation costs

Child support covers expenses that directly contribute to a child’s growth and development as well as their physical and emotional safety.

Can a Parent Be Ordered By a Court to Pay for College?

College is not cheap and the imposition of tuition costs can have an adverse effect on a parent’s financial situation. There are many costs to consider including tuition, room and board, textbooks, school supplies, and more. Once upon a time, Pennsylvania state law could order a parent to pay for their child’s higher education if they were divorced, separated, or unmarried. However, in 1995 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overruled this law, deeming it unconstitutional.

Pennsylvania parents, regardless of their marital status, have no legal obligation to contribute financially to their child’s college education. However, some parents may wish to help their child if they have the means. Parents can create a college tuition provision agreement to lay out the terms of how each of them may contribute to their child’s education.

If they choose to go this route parents should address all relevant information to avoid disputes down the road. Some parents may only pay if their child attends a certain university or studies a specific major. Consider:

  • Will one or both parents contribute?
  • Will money go toward only tuition or other expenses as well?
  • How much money will each parent contribute?
  • Does it matter what college the child chooses to attend or the subject they choose to major in?
  • Does the child have to maintain a certain GPA or meet any other requirements to receive the funding?

While not legally required some parents will choose to help financially as much as they can. For more information and legal assistance reach out to a skilled family lawyer today.