Divorce and College Expenses After Children Leave the Nest

Divorce is a particularly confusing and difficult time for all families and parties involved. It can be even more confusing when plans, especially future financial plans, now have to be agreed upon and settled in court. For example, you are not thinking about the repercussions of divorce when you are planning and saving for your child to go to college. What does divorce law in New Hampshire say about assisting your spouse (and adult children) with college expenses after you are no longer married to the other parent?

Does New Hampshire Law Order a Parent to Pay for a Child’s College Expenses?

The law in New Hampshire in regard to whether or not a parent is required to pay a child’s college expenses once they “leave the nest” has continuously evolved over the last decade. Prior to 2004, the law provided that one of the parents could be ordered by the court to pay the college expenses of an adult child. However, in 2004, the reverse was true and parents could not be ordered to pay these types of expenses for adult children. Today, parents may only be ordered to pay or contribute to a child’s college expense fund if there is an agreement between the parties. The current law states:

  • “Parents may agree to contribute to their child’s college expenses or other educational expenses beyond the completion of high school as part of a stipulated decree, signed by both parents and approved by the court. The agreed-on contribution may be made by one or both parents. The agreement may provide for contributions to an account to save for college, for the use of an asset, or for payment of educational expenses as incurred. Any such agreement shall specify the amount of the contribution, a percentage, or a formula to determine the amount of the contribution.

Basically, this law enforces the idea that parents should be able to come to an agreement on how to best assist their children with college expenses. Further, when an agreement is solidified, the court can hold each parent to their respective commitments. These types may also be modifiable, but the original agreement but explicitly state whether it is modifiable or not modifiable.

Even in the event that you and your soon to be ex-spouse use a divorce mediator instead of going straight to court, college expenses may be just the type of issue mediated and required for the divorce’s final decree and parenting plan.

Knowledgeable New Hampshire Divorce Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Rights

The divorce process can be a battleground and extremely emotionally draining. Even if the divorce is uncontested, or if you decided to use divorce mediation, it is important that you speak with a divorce lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the legal process. At Tenn And Tenn, P.A., our divorce attorneys have the skill and dedication to help you navigate your divorce successfully and achieve the results you want in the courtroom. If you are ending your marriage, let our experienced attorneys help protect your rights. Contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A. today.

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