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 ...
Tag: College Expenses
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
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
Throughout the last several years, the concept of parenting coordination has been catching on in Indiana. Effectively, Parenting Coordinators (known as “PCs” in high conflict matters) help parties resolve disputes in real time so children do not miss events or time with the other parent. The only other viable option before parenting coordination was a contempt petition or other legal filing in court, which was heard after the fact. As of January 1, 2017, the Indiana Supreme Court officially recognized Parenting Coordination; it approved rules regarding appointment and terms of service. These build on the knowledge and benefits that Parenting Coordinators ...
September 22, 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
A common misconception between parents of young children during divorce is that “child support” stops when the child(ren) turn 18. This is not the case necessarily in Indiana, which is the subject of this blog. First, it is important to note that Indiana is one of the few states that has a statute in the Divorce and Paternity Act providing that a parent may be ordered to pay educational expenses once a child has reached the age of majority (i.e., eighteen).1 Most states have repealed the laws requiring divorced parents to pay and provide for college expenses. The minority of states ...
June 22, 2016Adam Hayes
Indiana law changed several years ago to terminate a parent’s general duty to pay child support at 19. However, this law left in place language that allowed a trial court to have the discretion to award higher education expenses.1 Courts frequently award such colleges expenses. This has been subject to great debate among Hoosiers as many states end all support at or around 19. The reason age 19 is part of many statutes is because a senior in high school may turn 19 during his or her senior year. In Indiana, SB 109 was introduced in the most recent session of the ...
May 12, 2015Adam Hayes
Previous blog posts have explored several subparts and nuances of the amended statute on emancipation for purposes of child support1, passed in July, 2012. However, a recent amendment and additional terms have been added to the statute, retroactive to July 1, 2012, which clarify when college expenses can be petitioned for. Recently, the Indiana Court of Appeals addressed a case involving a dismissal of a father’s petition for postsecondary educational expenses for the daughter of the parties2. In this case, the parties had two (2) daughters. The parties divorced in 2001, and no provision was included regarding college expenses. The parties ...
September 12, 2013CD