Parent's Obligated to Pay College Tuition for Children

Last month, a teenager filed a motion to intervene in her parent's divorce asking the court to order them to contribute to her college tuition costs. The teen was estranged from her parents and was living with her grandparents. Her parents both agreed they would not help her pay for her college education unless she attended a New Jersey State school and attempted to mend their relationships. The teen was determined to attend Temple University in Pennsylvania and therefore felt her only option was to get involved in her parents divorce and ask the court to order them to contribute to her college costs. The Camden County Superior Court granted the teens motion and ordered her parents to pay $16,000 towards her tuition. It is important to note that if the teen's parents were still married, they would not be obligated to contribute to her education.

In the State of New Jersey divorced parents are required to contribute to their child's college tuition costs, because the court views college education as a necessity that divorced parents should be obligated to provide as a means to support their children. In order for the court to rule in a child's favor, they examine the dynamics of the parent-child relationship particularly when a parent and child are estranged. In these situations the court considers a number of factors including the parent's finances, the impact of estrangement, and the child's decision to exclude her parents from the college selection process.

The teen's parents plan on appealing the decision. They feel that their decision to divorce alone obligated them to contribute to their child's college education.

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