The FAFSA automatically assumes that parents plan to pay for some or all of their children’s higher education expenses when determining the financial aid eligibility of said offspring. This is in spite of the fact that neither federal nor state law obliges them to do so and many with high incomes simply refuse to.
While Connecticut law does not force married individuals to contribute to paying for their mutual progeny’s college expenditures, there is an exception for divorced parents. Separating mothers and fathers may find themselves on the hook for these costs.
Courts may issue educational support orders
In most cases, child support ends once the child turns 18. However, courts have the option of directing parents to continue payments if their children are in vocational training or college until they reach age 23. Orders may force a parent to pay for tuition, medical and dental expenses, board, application fees and more.
Courts look at different factors
Considerations they take into account include the parents’ income, responsibilities and assets. They may also look at elements surrounding the children themselves, such as their needs, ability to make money, dedication to obtaining higher education and chances of success (academic record). A major factor is whether or not the parent would provide financial support during college if still married to the other parent.
Divorce impacts whether or not children qualify to receive post-majority educational financial help from the government. Parents who never married each other may still find themselves under an order to pay educational support. Not every support agreement includes college expenses. Both parties may also agree to waive the right to request such an order.