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Parents’ responsibility for kids’ college expenses in Indiana

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Post Divorce Issues

College education can shape a child’s future, opening doors to numerous opportunities and career paths. However, the rising cost of higher education has become a significant concern for many families.

In Indiana, the financial burden of college expenses often extends beyond the child and can involve their parents, even after divorce or separation. Understanding this issue’s legal responsibilities and potential court orders is important for families.

Court-ordered contributions

In cases where parents cannot agree on how to handle educational expenses, they will need to go to court. The court will then determine whether each parent should contribute to their child’s college costs, and if so, how much they should contribute. The decision considers various factors, including each parent’s income and the child’s needs.

Divorced or non-married parents

When parents are divorced or never married, college expenses can become complicated. However, Indiana law allows the court to order one or both parents to contribute to these expenses. This law also applies to cases with established paternity. The aim is to ensure the child receives the necessary financial support to pursue higher education if they have the ability and aptitude to do so.

Impact of remarriage

Even if one parent remarries, the other parent may need to contribute to the child’s college expenses. Remarriage does not absolve a parent of their financial responsibilities towards their child’s education. The court focuses on the obligations of the biological or legally recognized parents, regardless of their current marital status.

Determining the amount

When the court determines the amount each parent should pay, it considers several factors. These include the cost of tuition, books and other related expenses. The court also looks at each parent’s financial situation, including their income and any other obligations they may have. This ensures a fair distribution of the costs based on each parent’s ability to pay.

Importance of communication

Parents should communicate and try to agree on their child’s college expenses. Doing so can help avoid court intervention and ensure a smoother process for everyone involved. Open and honest discussions about finances and expectations can lead to a mutually acceptable solution.

Parents, whether divorced, never married or remarried, may be required to support their children’s college education. Understanding these responsibilities and working together can help ensure that children have the financial support they need to pursue their educational goals.