Child support can be a contentious issue, both during the divorce process and long after the divorce is final and the parties have gone their separate ways.
Parents who pay child support often wonder whether they are responsible for their child’s college tuition. They obviously love their kids, but they want to know when their financial obligation officially ends.
For more information about child support in Florida, contact a Miami divorce and child support lawyer
What Florida Law Says about Child Support
Like most states, Florida law awards child support based on straightforward guidelines.
To determine how much child custody should be paid, and which parent should pay it, the courts in Florida look at many factors, including:
- The parents’ gross income
- Child care costs paid by either parent
- The parents’ living expenses
- Health insurance costs
Each case is different, which means courts may consider any other relevant factors to help them determine how much child support is fair.
Under Florida law, a child support obligor’s legal duty to pay child support ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school.
If a child is still in high school when he or she turns 19, the parent must continue paying child support until graduation.
No Obligation to Pay for College in Florida
There is no question that higher education comes with a hefty price tag. Over the past few years, the cost of college tuition has soared.
The average annual cost of in-state tuition is nearly $10,000. For out-of-state students, the cost is more than $22,000. When you factor in the cost of books, housing, and other expenses, the average student will pay nearly $100,000 for a four-year degree from a public university. A degree from a private school could set a student back $135,000.
With student loan debt approaching a staggering $1.2 trillion, most parents want to do everything they can to help their kids finance the cost of a college degree.
But are parents obligated to pay for school?
In Florida, a child support-paying parent has no obligation to pay for a child’s college tuition.
However, in some cases, parents may choose to include college tuition as part of their divorce settlement.
If the child’s parents incorporate an obligation for one parent to pay for college in their divorce settlement agreement, the courts will generally enforce it. Much like any contract, a divorce settlement agreement is enforceable as long as the terms are unambiguous.
Although you may wish to pay for your son or daughter’s college education, you don’t necessarily have to put this obligation in your divorce settlement agreement.
Many parents opt to open a college savings plan. This gives you more control over the money and keeps your ex-spouse from having a say in how much money you give your child for school.
Get Help for Child Support Issues in Your Case
Your divorce settlement agreement can influence your life for years after your divorce is final. This is why it’s important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side before entering into any kind of agreement with your spouse.
It’s also important to contact an attorney when you have questions about child custody in Florida. Whether you owe child support, or you would like to reduce your child support obligation, a family law attorney can make sure you take all the necessary steps to protect your legal rights and ensure you comply with all your obligations.
Contact a Miami, Florida Child Support Lawyer
Do you have questions about your child support obligations in Florida? The courts take child support enforcement very seriously.
Don’t make guesses about your responsibilities. Speak to a Miami divorce lawyer about your case.