What happens when you turn 18 years old and graduate high school? Are your divorced parents obligated to pay your San Diego University tuition fees for you?

The short answer is “no.” No law requires parents in California to pay for their child’s college education after divorce. In most cases, child support ends when the child turns 18 years old, finishes high school, or turns 19, whichever occurs first.

However, parents can make provisions in their child support and/or divorce agreement to share their children’s college tuition costs. Parents may consider other options when deciding how to divide responsibilities for paying a child’s college tuition and expenses.

Things To Consider When Discussing the Payment of San Diego University Tuition Fees After Divorce

Whether to pay for a child’s college education is a question all parents grapple with, regardless of their relationship. Deciding to pay for your child’s college tuition involves many factors, including:

Financial Capacity

Do the parents have the financial ability to pay for a child’s college education? Parents must consider their financial situation now and in the future when deciding if they can afford to contribute to college tuition payments.

Divorce Orders

What does the divorce decree say about a parent’s obligation to help with college tuition and expenses? The parents may have negotiated an agreement incorporated into their divorce decree whereby each parent will contribute a specific amount toward college tuition. 

However, if circumstances have changed substantially since the original agreement, a parent may petition the court to modify the order and agreement.

Academic Performance

The child may qualify for grants, scholarships, and financial aid to assist with college tuition. Parents should also consider these factors when determining how to handle college tuition payments for their children.

Furthermore, a child’s poor academic performance might make the conversation moot. Parents may agree to contribute to college tuition only when their child’s academic performance meets expectations.

Establishing a Trust

Parents can negotiate establishing a trust at the time of their divorce to set aside funds to pay for a child’s college education. Because the trust is a legal entity managed by a trustee, there would be no further need to enforce an agreement or argue about paying college tuition after divorce.

Setting Up a 529 Plan or Other College Savings Account

Parents may include a provision in their divorce settlement requiring each parent to contribute a minimum amount to a 529 college savings plan for their child. The parents may utilize other college savings plans for this option.

Applying for Financial Aid

Parents may not have the financial ability to pay a child’s college tuition. If so, parents could assist their children in applying for financial aid and government assistance to attend college. Parents can apply for grants and financial aid through FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants), Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Can I Modify a Divorce Agreement in San Diego for College Tuition?

Divorce agreements can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. For example, if a child moves in with their other parent, child support needs to be modified based on the new physical custody arrangement.

A court may grant a modification of the divorce decree if circumstances change that substantially impact the agreement between the parents regarding their child’s college tuition. For example, a child decides to go to an out-of-state college or a college with tuition much higher than San Diego University. These changes could substantially change the agreement between the parents, so the agreement needs to be modified.

The Role of a San Diego Divorce Attorney in Negotiating College Tuition Payments

A San Diego child support attorney can help you negotiate fair terms for a divorce settlement, including whether you and/or your ex-spouse will pay for your child’s college tuition and expenses. Your attorney protects your best interests and your child’s best interests, especially when your ex-spouse refuses to be reasonable about paying for college.

If you have questions about paying college tuition for your children after divorce, you can talk to a San Diego divorce lawyer. Even if you finalized your divorce years ago without addressing the matter, an attorney can discuss options for you to deal with it now.

Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego divorce lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108

619) 866-3756