As many parents of adult children know, most children do not stop needing support (financial, mental, and emotional) when they turn eighteen or graduate from high school. Providing continued emotional or mental support is usually not a point of contention between parents. Whether to provide financial support can be a different story. When the parents of adult children are still married at the time the child reaches the age of majority, the parents usually decide together how much longer they will offer housing, pay for college, and otherwise financially support the child. When the parents are not married at the time the child turns eighteen or graduates (and the current child support order ends), there are often questions about whether to provide support (and how much support) for the adult child. There is also the question of who should contribute to the support.
Sometimes, unmarried parents request that the court determine whether and how much postsecondary support should be provided to the child. A parent must request postsecondary education contribution from the other parent prior to the current child support order ending (usually eighteen or when the child graduates from high school). If a request is made through court action, the court may decide to award post-secondary support, but it is not mandatory.