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Am I Required to Pay My Child’s College Tuition After My Divorce?

 Posted on November 20, 2017 in Family Law

Milwaukee divorce lawyer, child support payments, college tuition, pay child support, end child supportWhen parents decide to dissolve their marriage, one of the court’s top concerns during divorce proceedings is ensuring that the children’s best interests are protected. One of the primary ways this is done is by requiring one or both parents to pay child support that will provide for the children’s needs—food, shelter, clothing, personal care, medical expenses, etc. However, while parents are obligated to support their minor children, what happens when children graduate from high school and begin attending college?

Paying for Children’s College Expenses

In Wisconsin, a parent’s requirement to pay child support ends when his or her child turns 18.

Or, if the child is still pursuing a high school diploma or GED, child support ends when the child turns 19. While some states also require parents to pay non-minor support if children pursue secondary education, Wisconsin does not require parents to contribute to their children’s college tuition.

However, parents may want to ensure that their children will have the resources to achieve a college education, and they can agree between themselves how each parent will contribute to the expenses for this education. This arrangement can be done as part of a divorce agreement or in a separate written agreement. When making this type of agreement, parents should consider the following:

  • How much will each parent contribute toward college tuition? Parents may wish to set a limit on what they will be obligated to pay, either by specifying a monetary figure that they will contribute toward tuition each year or by using a percentage of actual tuition expenses. They may also wish to decide whether they will pay for the costs of a state or public college or a private university.
  • What other expenses will be included? Tuition is only one part of a child’s actual college expenses. Parents should also consider how much they will contribute toward room and board, books, fees, transportation, medical care, and any other costs.
  • Who will pay application fees? If a child plans to apply to multiple schools, parents may wish to specify the number of application fees for which they will pay. They may also specify whether they will pay for entrance exams or preparatory courses for these exams.
  • Will there be any conditions? Parents may decide to require children to maintain a certain grade point average while they are contributing toward expenses. They may also want to specify the number of years of schooling they will contribute to or that support ends when the child receives his or her bachelor’s degree.

Contact a Milwaukee, WI, Divorce Attorney

If you decide to include provisions for your children’s college expenses in your divorce agreement, it is important to use the right terms and include language that will provide you with protection if your financial situation should change in the future.

The skilled attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you create an agreement that will provide for your children’s best interests while giving you the legal protections you need. Contact a Milwaukee divorce lawyer today at 414-271-1440.




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