In a Washington child support case, the court may order the payment of post-secondary educational support for a dependent child. The support is conditioned on the child enrolling in an accredited academic or vocational school, pursuing education in line with his or her vocational goals, and remaining in good academic standing. If these conditions are not met, the support is suspended. Additionally, the child must make his or her academic records available to both parents.
A mother recently challenged an order for past due post-secondary support, arguing her daughter had not complied with the statutory requirements. The court had entered a child support order regarding post-secondary support of the parties’ daughter that required the mother to pay 66.3 percent of the child’s post-secondary education support. To receive the support, the daughter had to meet the requirements of RCW 26.19.090(4), which requires the child to make all grades and academic records available to both parents as a condition of receiving the support.
The father moved for contempt for past due post-secondary support in 2017. He submitted proof of expenses and enrollment records. The mother said she called to pay tuition, but the Registrar’s Office informed her they could not give her access to any information due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). They told her students were told they must grant access for anyone else to have access to their account.