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Can higher education be part of a support order in Connecticut?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2022 | Family Law

In Connecticut family law, child support will be a basic consideration. People generally assume this is related to minor children. However, there are situations when a support order can include educational expenses for those who have technically reached adulthood at age 18. For a parent receiving the support payments and one paying it, it is imperative to be cognizant of when they might be ordered to pay educational support.

When might there be an educational support order?

A parent can be ordered to support the child through up to four academic years at an educational institution or for them to enroll in an occupational school. If, for example, a supported child plans to go to college for an undergraduate degree, this can be paid for as part of the support order. The same is true if they want to attend a school to learn a specific trade such as working in the food industry or learning to be a mechanic.

The order can be made the offspring has not reached age 23. It will end when that age is reached. Parents can request this order as part of the divorce, legal separation or when the marriage is annulled. There can be no educational support order unless the court determines that it is more probable than not that the educational support would have been provided had the parents remained married.

The court can consider the financial situation as part of the decision. In high-asset cases, it is less of an obstacle than in cases where finances are limited. Other relevant factors include if there are other dependents, the child’s need to receive support, whether financial aid options and loans are available, the child’s academic record, their history and ability to handle higher education and the cost of school.

The child must also adhere to specific responsibilities such as enrolling in an accredited school or occupational institution, being at least a half-time student, having good academic standing and making the school records accessible to the parents. The payments can also include room, board, tuition, fees and other expenses.

For educational support concerns, having experienced guidance is key

In family law, parents undoubtedly want the best for their children and part of that is ensuring they have a solid educational background. Obviously, that can be an expensive proposition. This can be addressed in the support order. Many parents are perfectly willing to make these payments, but it is important to know the law. For cases in which this is a concern, having professional, experienced and skillful help can be crucial to these aspects of a case and reach an outcome that will benefit all involved.