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Child support and college in New York: What happens?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Child Support |

In New York, a parent who is required to pay child support isn’t off the hook when that child turns 18 years of age.

In this state, even though custody and visitation orders end when a child becomes a legal adult, child support continues until that child turns 21 years of age.

In many cases, that means contributing toward the child’s college expenses (tuition, books and other expenses) as well as paying some or all of the child’s room, board, clothing and other necessary living costs.

Are there any exceptions to the rule?

Generally speaking, child support is only available for the unemancipated child under 21 years of age. This means that a parent’s support obligation will end sooner if the child:

  • Is no longer living with either parent and is totally self-supporting
  • Has been legally emancipated through a court order for some reason
  • Has gotten married (which can now occur no sooner than the child’s 18th birthday)
  • Has joined the armed forces

There may be a few other exceptions, but these are the most common.

Can a parent’s support obligation be extended until a child graduates from college?

New York has no statutory rule that requires a parent to pay for a child’s college education — but any parent knows that most young adults need some financial help getting through school these days.

Parents of means who value the idea of education can negotiate a private agreement that will make sure that a child’s college education is funded — but it’s wise to consider a few limits. If you’re the paying parent, you need to discuss things like whether you’re willing to pay for private tuition to a top-tier school — or you want to limit your expenses to what the state schools charge.

In high asset divorces, issues involving child support can get very complicated — especially when parents are looking ahead and trying to envision their children’s future. Learning more about your legal rights and obligations can help provide clarity.