Does Child Support Continue Through College in Pennsylvania?

Divorced parents college expenses

Pennsylvania law requires parents to support their children who are unemancipated and 18 years of age or younger. It is possible in rare circumstances for a child to become emancipated before age 18. It is also possible for the duty of support to continue beyond age 18 for a child who is disabled. Parents have a duty to support a child that has a physical or mental condition, which exists at the time the child reaches majority, which prevents the child from being self-supporting. The test is whether the child is physically and mentally able to engage in profitable employment and whether employment is available to that child at a supporting wage.

When Does Child Support End in PA?

As a general rule, the duty of child support in Pennsylvania ends when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens last.

How Do Divorced Parents Pay for College? How Do They Split Tuition?

There is no obligation for parents to pay for college for their adult children. However, parents can contractually agree to pay all or part of a child’s post-secondary education. A written agreement isn’t required although having a written agreement that specifies the terms for each parent can prevent future disputes and can ensure the parents’ intentions are carried out. Because such a contract entails promises for future performance, great caution should be used in drafting such agreements so as to address unforeseen changes in circumstances.

Do Divorced Fathers Have to Pay for College?

There is no obligation for fathers or mothers to pay for college expenses for their children unless they voluntarily and contractually obligate themselves to do so.

Is a Non-Custodial Parent Required to Pay for College Tuition in PA?

If a child is an emancipated adult, there is no requirement for a non-custodial parent to pay for college tuition or other college expenses.

What Factors Does a Court in PA Look at When Deciding Child Support and College Expenses?

Child support in Pennsylvania is calculated pursuant to a state-wide guideline established by the Supreme Court that ensures that similarly situated people are treated similarly. If it is determined that a person has a duty to pay support, there is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of support as calculated by following the guidelines, is the correct support amount. It is possible for the court to deviate from the guideline amount of support based upon:

  1. unusual needs and unusual fixed obligations;
  2. other support obligations of the parties;
  3. other income in the household;
  4. ages of the children;
  5. the relative assets and liabilities of the parties;
  6. medical expenses not covered by insurance;
  7. standard of living of the parties and their children; and
  8. other relevant and appropriate factors, including the best interests of the child or children.

Are Divorced Parents Required to Pay for Secondary Education after College?

Unless divorced parents have contractually agreed to pay for education beyond high school, there is no legal obligation to do so.

How Colgan and Associates can help you

Our team of trusted divorce attorneys at Colgan & Associates stand ready to assist with your matter, whether that’s about child support and college expenses or another family law issue. We proudly offer no-cost phone consultations to individuals hoping to better understand their matter and how we may be able to assist them. If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, child custody or support case in Pennsylvania, please reach out to us today at (717) 502-5000.

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