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Who pays college expenses for a child in a divorce?

If you are getting a divorce or are already divorced in Virginia, you may wonder who will pay for your child's college expenses. This is a valid concern as college costs are rising. In addition, if you receive child support, that will end either when your child turns 18 or graduates high school. You may not be able to afford the costs yourself and wonder if the child's other parent has an obligation to pay.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, college expenses are not an obligation of any parent, so the chances are that your child's other parent has no legal obligation to help pay for your child's education. However, the state does allow for judges to include college expenses, sometimes called college, post-secondary or post-minority support, when making child support orders.

Do note this support is separate from the child support. It usually begins when the child graduates. In addition, the court earmarks it for use only for education-related expenses. There are cases where it is paid in conjunction with child support, but again, it is only for use for post-secondary education expenses.

Not every case will have this support. You may need to specifically request it. The judge in your case may not award college support, so keep that in mind. It may be more difficult to go back to court if your divorce is final and get a judge to agree to award this type of support. This information is for education and if not legal advice.

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