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690 Flatbush Avenue West Hartford, CT  06110-1308

860 236-9350             800 856-6400  toll free     860 523-9101  fax

27 Holmes Avenue Downtown Waterbury 203 756-6100

 

 

 

Divorce and Payment of Children's College Expenses

    As of October 2002, Connecticut law allows a divorce court to order that parents pay for their children to attend up to 4 years of college or an occupational school.

    This divorce court order may include any necessary educational expense, including tuition, fees, room and board, dues, registration fees, application fees, books and health insurance.

    The divorce court cannot order payment of educational expenses that would be greater than what the expenses would be for a full-time, in-state student at the University of Connecticut.  The parties, however, may agree as part of the divorce agreement to pay more and the divorce court can then enforce payment of these higher amounts.

    If an educational support order is not entered at the time of the divorce, then an order cannot be entered in the future unless the divorce decree says that the parties may ask for an order in the future.  Parties often make this part of their divorce agreement so that if they cannot agree on paying for college when their children grow up, they can ask the divorce court to decide.

    If the divorce decree is by agreement (that is, without a trial), then the parties have three choices in regard to an educational support order.

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    They can agree on a specific order that states what amounts are to be paid by each parent.

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    They can agree an order will enter later on and the amounts to be paid by each parent will be decided later on.

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    They can agree an educational support order will never be entered.

    Either party may ask the divorce court for modification of an existing educational support order.

    An educational support order cannot be used to pay for postgraduate education.

    Payments due under an educational support order must be made if:

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The child is enrolled in an accredited college or occupational school.

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The child is taking at least one-half the normal course load for a full-time student at the school.

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The child remains in good academic standing.

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The child makes his grades available to both parents.

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The child is younger than 23 years of age.

    To enter an educational support order, the divorce court must take into consideration:

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Whether the parents would have paid for college if there had been no divorce.

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The parents' income, assets and other obligations, including obligations to other children.

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The child's assets and ability to earn income.

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The availability of financial aid from other sources, including grants and loans.

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The reasonableness of the higher education considering the child's academic record.

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The child's preparation for, aptitude for and commitment to higher education.

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The school the child plans to attend, if known.

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