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Question: Can I ask the other parent to contribute to our children’s college expenses?

by | Feb 24, 2021 | Family Law |

By Jennifer L. Garber

Answer: It depends. In many situations, the answer is yes. Basic child support does not include expenses such as a child’s tuition at a college or university. DRL §240(10b)(c)(7) provides:

Where the court determines, having regard for the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties and in the best interests of the child, and as justice requires, that the present or future provision of post secondary, private, special, or enriched education for the child is appropriate, the court may award educational expenses. The non-custodial parent shall pay educational expenses, as awarded, in a manner determined by the court, including direct payment to the educational provider.

The Court may direct payment towards a child’s college expenses on either a pendente lite or post-judgment basis. Hondros v. Hondros, 259 A.D.2d 592 (2d Dept. 1999); Rocchio v. Rocchio, 213 A.D.2d 535 (2d Dept. 1995). The Courts will consider the following: the parties’ financial ability to provide the necessary funds, whether the parents are college graduates, the child’s academic ability, and whether the child went to private school.

However, if the custodial parent seeking contribution towards college is receiving child support from the non-custodial parent, the non-custodial parent will generally be entitled to a Justino credit (Justino v. Justino, 238 A.D.2d 549 [1997]), i.e., a dollar for dollar credit against his/her child support obligation for the sums spent on room and board for the child while at college.