Family Attorney Houston: When we talk about college expenses what exactly do we mean by that term? Tuition for attending classes at a college or university is probably the first thing that most of us think about. Room and board, transportation costs, health insurance, food, rent, and "fun" are all relevant topics to include when considering college expenses. All of these aspects of college life can create a very expensive situation for parents who are in many ways expected to foot the bill for these expenditures- either through taking out student loans in their own names or by saving up money and paying cash.
If you are going through a divorce then you may be wondering just how your case and decision to separate from your spouse will impact your child’s ability to have the same college experience as his or her peers. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC we will discuss this topic in greater detail. Now is the time of year that colleges will send out acceptance letters to students that applied in the fall semester. I can’t think of a better time to run through some issues related to college expenses for divorced parents.
What does the law in Texas hold for divorced parents in regard to paying for college?
Divorce Attorneys in Houston: In your reading through past blog posts of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC you have likely become familiar with the standard that your family law court or any other family law court would utilize to make decisions in regard to issues facing your child: the best interests standard. It is a largely subjective standard that allows judges wide latitude in regard to determining what is in your particular child’s best interests. A judge would look to your child’s physical, emotional and mental needs to make this determination.
What your child’s needs are at age 7 are different than what your child’s needs are at age 17. That goes without saying. What we do know is that you are only obligated to pay child support for your child through their 18th birthday or their graduation from high school, whichever occurs later in time. There are no laws on the books in Texas that require you as a divorced parent to pay for college expenses for your child who is over the age of 18.
Is a college degree in the best interests of your child?
Houston Divorce Attorneys: On its face, this would seem to be an easy question to answer. We’ve all heard the various statistics that have been much discussed for a generation, about how a college graduate is likely to earn "X" amount of dollars more than a person with only a high school education. In addition to the increased earning potential, college life is said to offer students a chance to grow and develop socially. The College Experience is something that we have all been told is essential to our development as Americans.
What I would offer to you in the year 2019 is that a college degree may not be worth what it once was. Bear in mind that the costs of attending college have increased steadily and more and more people have shown a willingness to pay for that service. The rub is that the payments being made for tuition and the other costs of college have come by and large through the taking out of significant student loans. Both parents and students have taken out loans in order to facilitate the college experience/educational experience that has been ingrained into our psyches. The result can be disastrous if the debt cannot be repaid due to there being insufficient return on the investment in the form of a good paying job.
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