In Indiana, divorced parents can1 be ordered to contribute toward their adult child’s college expenses.2 While parents have argued that this violates equal protection, because married couples are free to choose not to contribute toward their children’s college, Indiana appellate courts have rejected this argument.13 In fact, Indiana trial court judges have broad discretion to determine what is included in an educational support order.4 However, parents are not required to contribute toward their child’s graduate degree.5 That said, this blog focuses on a narrow exception when a parent is not required to contribute toward college when his or her child ...
April 21, 2020CD
In a small percentage of divorce and paternity cases, some children completely reject a parent and become estranged from this parent and effectively deny they are the child’s parent. Do these parents have to pay for higher education? This blog addresses the legal doctrine of a child repudiating a parent’s relationship and implications if he or she seeks contribution from the estranged parent toward college expenses. In Indiana, there is no absolute legal duty on the part of a parent to provide a contribution to a child’s college expense. However, the Divorce Act authorizes Indiana trial courts to pay sums toward ...
March 20, 2020CD
This blog is written for divorced parents or parents of children in a paternity action that are about to turn 19 years of age. Although minor children are considered to be adults when they turn 18 years of age, there are still parental financial obligations for children of divorce or paternity cases. In the state of Indiana that continues until 19 years of age and possibly beyond. The statutes in Indiana require that a parent must file before the child turns 19 years of age to preserve the financial obligation of child support or college expenses, beyond the age of ...
November 15, 2019CD
Four Critical Concepts for Post-Secondary Expenses College costs and other post-secondary expenses continue to rise, and articles about these increasing costs and the growing debt that many students come out of college with are nearly everywhere you look. In fact, apart from buying a home, attending college or another type of post-secondary institution may be the biggest expense that one has in their life. Sometimes, the divorced parents of a child who plans on attending college or another post-secondary institution may have very different opinions about what they believe their respective roles should be in terms of their financial contributions to ...
February 20, 2019CD
Can I Be Required to Contribute Toward My Kid’s College Expenses If We Have Had No Relationship After the Divorce1? Maybe? Maybe not! Under Indiana law, there is no absolute duty for a divorced parent to be ordered to contribute toward his or her adult child’s college expenses. Generally, Indiana divorce courts order divorced parents to pay toward their adult child’s college.2 However, where repudiation can be established—that there is no relationship between the adult child and parent--the court may determine the child has repudiated the relationship with the parent and relieve him of his or her obligation to contribute toward ...
November 14, 2018CD
If you are divorced, and your children plan to attend college, the divorce court can order you to contribute to college expenses after the children turn eighteen.1 If your dissolution decree does not address the division of college expenses, there is significant potential for argument and litigation over what amount each parent should pay; how the child will contribute; and what expenses will be included in an order to pay college expenses. Indiana courts have wide discretion over the amounts that each parent may be required to pay, as well as what types of expenses will be included. This blog ...
September 12, 2018CD
In a key case decided by the Indiana Court of Appeals, it clarified two important points about family law and college 529 accounts. These are educational accounts opened by a parent or parents for payment of college expenses for their children, with a parent as an owner and the child as a beneficiary. Normally, a petition for college expenses has to be filed before the age the child is emancipated as a matter of law at age 19.1 This was a point of contention in this new case. If not timely filed, the trial court cannot order college expenses and the ...
October 4, 2017CD
In an important case decided today by the Indiana Court of Appeals,1 it carefully delineated for attorneys and litigants when and what are the differences between child support and educational expenses and extraordinary educational expenses. Critically, it drew the line where expenses are not related educational expenses. Generally, divorced parents or those with children born outside of marriage believe their financial duties to children end when they turn 18; but this is not the case if the child has the ability for and wishes to go to college. This blog addresses the key differences between child support and college expenses so ...
August 2, 2017CD
A controversial topic across the United States with divorced families or children born out of wedlock is: “Who pays for post-secondary education?” Post-secondary education is generally defined as education beyond high school. A recent national case in New Jersey brought this matter to the forefront. Here Caitlyn Ricci sued her parents for tuition at Temple University and lost that battle.1 This blog covers post-secondary education as a policy and as it applies in Indiana. In many states, the duty to pay any support for a child, including post-secondary education, ends at age 18 or when the child completes his or her senior ...
February 14, 2017Adam Hayes
All issues involving child custody and child support have significant social, political, economic and psychological dynamics operating within the legal system and controlling laws. Two key policies that support the law is to maintain the child with a style of living as if the parents were married and meet the child’s best interests. In the very broad area, this blog post explores three trends that are slowly changing domestic law across the country: joint custody, child support ending at age 18, and third parties obtaining custody. At present, the parent who is not awarded physical custody is given parenting time (overnights) ...
July 7, 2016Adam Hayes