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Can You Be Required to Pay for Graduate Degree as Part of Child Support?

Although in Indiana the current age of emancipation by statute is 19 years of age, meaning the age at which the duty for child support is terminated by statute, a parent may be responsible and have a duty to continue to provide educational expenses of a child enrolled in higher education.

Pursuant to state statute, Indiana Code §31-16-6-2(a)(1), a court may enter an educational support order for a child’s education at a post-secondary educational institution. In a recent case the definition of the educational expense at a post-secondary educational institution became the issue. A trial court granted graduate school expenses and required contribution from both parents under the pure definition of the post-secondary, which is not limited, and does not prohibit inclusion of graduate expenses.

The Court of Appeals seemed to indicate that parental contribution toward graduate school expenses should not be routinely entered. The Court of Appeals also noted that among other things to be considered in determining an award of post secondary education or other child’s needs, is “the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved.” 1 In the case mentioned above, where the trial court awarded graduate school expenses the parties had higher incomes and significant assets.

Ultimately, it comes down to the discretion of the trial court and the facts and circumstances in each case have a significant impact on the determinations of an award of educational support and the amount each parent is ordered to provide.

This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. and is for general educational purposes only. It is not legal advice, or solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle domestic relations, paternity, guardianship, protective order cases and civil appeals from all Indiana state trial courts.


  1. Johnson v. Johnson, 999 N.E. 2d 56, 60 (Ind.2013).
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Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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Based in Indianapolis and founded in 1995, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. is a niche law firm focused on successfully dealing with the complexities of divorce, high-conflict child custody and family law. Known for their ability to solve extremely complex situations with high quality work and responsiveness, Ciyou & Dixon will guide you every step of the way. The family law attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. will help you precisely identify your objectives and the means to reach your desired result. In addition, this practice focus is augmented by the firm's other three core areas, namely appellate advocacy, civil practice, and firearms law. Life is uncertain. Be certain of your counselSM.

Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. of Indianapolis, Indiana, offers legal services for Indianapolis, Zionsville, Noblesville, Carmel, Avon, Anderson, Danville, Greenwood, Brownsburg, Geist, Fortville, McCordsville, Muncie, Greenfield, Westfield, Fort Wayne, Fishers, Bloomington, Lafayette, Marion County, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Allen County, Delaware County, Morgan County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Vigo County, Johnson County, Hancock County, and Tippecanoe County, Indiana.