Kevin Qualls Family Law
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More on how college expenses work in terms of child support

A previous post on this blog explained that child support in California ends when a child turns 18 or until either he or she graduates or until age 19. In other words, there is no legal authority for a judge, no matter how much he or she might want to, to order a parent to pay for his or her child's college education.

Absent some other factor, whether to finance all or part of a child's college education, or even whether to continue offering some basic support while the child is attending college, is a personal decision each parent gets to make.

This does not mean that parents cannot agree as part of a divorce, legal separation, or order in a paternity case, to provide all or part of a child's college education. Many parents may choose to do so out of the goodness of their hearts, and others may enter such agreements in exchange for trade-offs in other areas.

However, it is important that those who do enter in to such agreements remember that college tuition is not child support and thus will not be enforced with the same gusto as basic child support payments. On the flip side, it may be harder for a parent to get out of these types of agreements than it would be to simply change a child support obligation.

The important thing for any parent in Orange County to remember, though, is that they do not have to agree to pay college expenses and probably should not do so without careful consideration, usually with the help of an experienced family law attorney.

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