How do Higher Education Costs for Children Factor into Divorce or Custody Cases in Connecticut?

by | Dec 17, 2019 | Family Law

In Connecticut, a family court judge can enter an order of educational support requiring a parent or guardian to provide support for a child to attend an institution of higher education, including college and vocational school. The educational support order can be for up to a total of four full academic years so a child can obtain an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree and/or vocational training. The order is also for a child who has not yet turned 23 years old. The order would also end when the child turns 23 years old.

The order of educational support can occur when a custody or divorce judgment is entered, or before a judgment is finalized in family court. If a divorce or custody case has gone to judgment, a court will not enter an educational support order for a child retroactively. It is important to have the court enter an order of educational support before or during a judgment, so that if and when your child wants to attend college or vocational school in the future, the court can determine college or vocational costs at that later date.

The court can enter an order for the necessary education expenses of the child, including tuition, room, board, books, medical insurance, fees, and dues. The expenses cannot surpass the amount Connecticut State Schools charge full-time and in-state students at the time the child enrolls in school, unless the parents or guardians agree to pay more than that amount. This is also known as the UConn cap.

Certain factors that the court will consider to determine who pays what for your child’s education are:

  1.  Any information about the school the child would attend, including proof of acceptance or enrollment,
  2.  The parents or guardians’ income, assets, and other obligations,
  3.  The availability of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans for the  child,
  4.  The child’s need for support to attend school, including the child’s assets and  earning capacity, and
  5.  The child’s academic record, preparation, and commitment to higher education.

Make sure you are fully aware of your options for your children’s higher education costs during a divorce or custody case.

– Makana A. Ellis

Disclaimer: While this blog provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call one of our lawyers at 860-398-9386. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.