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Deciphering Child Support For College Tuition

Child support is a highly-contested part of family law, a discussion that can be emotional and confusing for all parties. If or when parents do not resolve child support arrangements on their own, it is then decided in court. But what about child support for college tuition?

Do you have to pay child support for a kid in college?

In the state of Maryland, child support does not often continue through college years. As the Maryland custody laws stand now, divorced parents who must pay child support are only obligated to do so until the child graduates from high school or turns 19, whichever comes first. If the child drops out of high school before graduation, that action terminates child support in Maryland.

Are parents legally required to pay for college?

The concept that non-custodial parents should be required to help pay for college was briefly entertained by the Maryland General Assembly in 2011 and 2012, but it did not gain substantial enough support from legislators. Regardless of marital status, Maryland law does not support the idea that parents must take on responsibility for their children beyond age 18.

That being said, many families have personal beliefs or expectations regarding college attendance and how it is paid for. If a non-custodial parent is required to help pay for their child’s college education in the event of a divorce, it was incorporated into a separation agreement or post-nuptial agreement. In those instances, the agreement will be enforced by a Maryland court. Without a unique agreement, child support for college tuition is not enforced in Maryland.

If your family is looking to draw up such an agreement to enforce that support, speak with your Family Law Attorney. The alternative to requiring child support for college tuition by a court order, of course, is parents that are willing and able to voluntarily work together to assist their child in paying for college.

For Maryland students looking for college funding assistance, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. First, consider the fact that in-state tuition is almost always less expensive than out-of-state tuition, and most public schools cost less than private institutions. You can also explore options for awarded funding including scholarships, federal programs and student loans.

For questions on child support in Maryland, contact Hecht & Associatestoday at 301-587-2099 for a consultation.