Parents Can Agree or a Court Will Decide
Under Connecticut law, parents going through a divorce have to think ahead about paying for college. Although a concern for all parents, there must be language in a divorce agreement about paying for college. This can be difficult especially if you have young children and no savings. The thought of paying for college is stressful. The divorce agreement will include a provision that clearly states each parent’s financial responsibility to pay college costs. Parents can decide on their own how to pay for college. Parents can also work with a divorce mediator who helps them reach an agreement about paying for college. If parents cannot agree, the couple will go have to go to court and let a judge decide. There are rules and restrictions on how much a court can order a parent to pay.
An overview of Connecticut General Statutes 46b-56c and Educational Support Orders
Connecticut General Statute 46b-56c contains the rules and restrictions a court must follow when deciding how much each parent must pay for college. The court then enters what is called an educational support order. An educational support order covers tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses. When deciding whether to issue an educational support order, the court will consider several factors. These factors include the cost of college, the parents’ income and financial resources. Financial aid, scholarships, and grants are also considered. Connecticut law allows for a modification of an educational support order if there is a substantial change in circumstances like a parent losing a job or becoming ill. The law also limits the amount each parent has to pay based on the current in state tuition at the University of Connecticut.
The court may order one or both parents to contribute to the college expenses of their child. The order might include a requirement for payment of tuition, room and board, and other necessary expenses related to the child’s education. Parents might share equally or one parent might pay more because they have a higher income or more assets. The court’s order should be reasonable based on the parents’ financial ability to pay.
Work with a Divorce Mediator
Divorce mediation is an affordable and less adversarial way to reach an agreement on paying for college. A divorce mediator will help the parents create their own agreement rather than take their chances in court with a judge. Divorce mediators offer guidance so you can understand what the laws in Connecticut say about paying for college. A mediator cannot render an opinion on either parent’s obligation but can educate the couple on existing laws.
Letting a Court Decide is a Gamble
When deciding if you and your spouse can afford to pay for college, a judge will focus more on the child’s best interests and not necessarily the best interests of the parents. Most parents want their child to go to college, but cannot always afford it. With the rising costs of tuition, paying for college can be difficult. If you’re negotiating an educational support order in a divorce, it’s recommended to consult with an attorney who specializes in divorce and family law. Seeking advice from a divorce attorney is important to navigate this process properly. A divorce attorney will provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date legal advice based on your individual circumstances and the current laws in Connecticut.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a family law attorney, divorce attorney, divorce mediator, or one of our other skilled professionals, please don’t hesitate to contact Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221 – 3100 or via email at Jmaya@Mayalaw.com.Our firm offers free consultations in person or video conference to discuss paying for college in your divorce, and all other family law and divorce law matters.