Articles Tagged with college

Parents of high school students planning on heading to college or technical school after high school often spend part of their summer looking at colleges, or helping kids prepare for the SATs. Parents may also spend some of their time planning on (or worrying about) how they will pay for their children’s education. For a parent of a high school student not married to child’s other parent, there is also the consideration of how to share the cost of the child’s education with the other parent.

A parent may choose to ask that the court require the other parent to contribute to the child’s educational expenses. If the parent is considering doing so, he or she should do the following:

  1. Review RCW 26.19.090. This statute provides the things the court will consider when determining whether postsecondary support should be awarded. It is a good starting point for anyone considering requesting postsecondary support.
  2. Gather Information and Documentation. After your review of RCW 26.19.090 is complete, you should start to gather documents that could help you prove that your child is intending to and capable of attending an accredited school, and that the child is dependent on you and the other parent. You will also want to gather documentation and information relating to any of the factors discussed in RCW 26.19.090(1).
  3. Consider the Timing. If your child is not yet applied to any post-secondary school, it may be difficult for the court to determine the costs to be apportioned. It may be best to wait until your child has made a decision about what to do after high school. However, it is very important that you seek postsecondary support prior to the order of child support terminating. In most cases, child support ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. You must file your action for postsecondary support prior to that event occuring.

It is generally in your best interest to discuss your likelihood of success in a postsecondary case with a qualified attorney prior to filing anything with the court. If you live in the Seattle area, and have any questions regarding family law, we would be happy to speak with you.

As many of us know, the days of parents’ financial support of their children ending on the child’s eighteenth birthday is largely a thing of the past. These days, whether divorced or not, many people are supporting their adult children through college or technical school (at least). In divorced families, it is often necessary and helpful to have a court order dividing the financial burden of supporting adult children through postsecondary schooling. (Please note, there are other grounds for requesting the continuation of child support into adulthood not based on anticipated college or technical school – this blog entry does not cover those grounds.)

Sometimes (especially if ordered in close proximity to the time the child will be leaving high school or turning eighteen), postsecondary support is ordered as part of the original order of child support. However, in most cases we see, the issue is reserved and will require further action by one of the parents to create an obligation to share costs. If it looks like your child is college or technical school bound, and your spouse would be able to assist with the financial burden of your child’s schooling it is important that you be proactive in obtaining a court order requiring that your former spouse assist you and/or your child with postsecondary expenses.

Washington law refers to post-high school financial assistance as postsecondary educational support. This support can include the tuition cost of college or technical school as well as the cost for housing, books, and fees. In determining whether to award postsecondary educational support (and if so, how much), the court considers the factors set forth in RCW 26.19.090.

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