Non-Custodial Parent’s Obligation for College Costs in NJ

Non-Custodial Parent’s Obligation for College Costs in NJ

In a recent Appellate case, Caruso v. Whitlock, in which the parties were the parents of a child to which the father had no relationship with and had no input into the college selection, the court again upheld the prior decision of Newburgh v. Arrigo. The Appellate Court found that the Court must consider “all relevant factors” including, but not limited to: (i) whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed towards the costs of the requested higher education; (ii) the effect of the background, values and goals of the parents on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education; (iii) the amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of high education; (iv) the ability of the parent to pay that cost; (v) the relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child; (vi) the financial resources of both parties; (vii) the commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education; (viii) the financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust; (ix) the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation; (x) the availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans; (xi) the child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and (xii) the relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child. Although the Court in Caruso, did not specifically cite Newburgh, the Court did discuss with the parties during the hearing most of the Newburgh factors. Nonetheless, the Appellate Court felt that all the factors were not considered. This decision reminds the Court that the parent’s ability to pay, the parent/child relationship and the child’s ability to contribute with their own assets and obtaining a job must be included in the decision as to whether there should be a college contribution by the non-custodial parent and if so, the amount. If you are considering post judgment college contribution issues, you should consult an experienced family law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on child support, parenting time/visitation, modifications or other family law matters in Bergen, Hudson, Union, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Sussex or Warren New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.

1 Comment

  1. James Reynolds
    August 5, 2013

    It’s hard being a college student. We go to school for 4 years and come out in so much debt that we don’t know where to begin paying it. On top of the debt we also need to find a job in a very weak job market where employers are looking for experience. The best advice I can give is to do your research on all of the colleges in New Jersey and take your time going over the financial information for each college.

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