Does Child Support Cover College Tuition in North Carolina?

In 2018, it was revealed that the average student spends almost $100,000 to complete their degree in the United States. Our nation is one of the most expensive places to study, and costs are rising every day. If you have a small child, you may be wondering how you are possibly going to pay for their future education. Who knows how much tuition will cost in 10 or 15 years?

This issue becomes even more troubling if you are going through a divorce. As you prepare to begin a new chapter of your life as a single parent, you might be concerned about financial matters. Perhaps your former spouse was supporting you financially during the marriage, and you were staying at home to raise the children. While you might be confident about paying for basic necessities in the near future, college fees are a completely different ball game.

Your first instinct may be to turn to your former spouse and ask them to contribute. In some cases, this is a relatively straightforward process, and non-custodial parents are more than happy to ensure their child is well-educated. In other situations, you may discover that your spouse is unwilling to help. But what about child support? Shouldn’t it cover college tuition?

This is a common question for divorcing parents in North Carolina, and it makes sense to connect with a qualified family law attorney to get answers. Our legal professionals understand the financial pressures you may be under, and we can help you strive toward a positive outcome. While providing your child with enough money to go to college is always a challenge (whether you are divorced or not), there may be options that can help.

College Tuition Is Not Covered by Child Support in North Carolina

Under normal circumstances, child support does not include college tuition in North Carolina. At its core, child support is supposed to be a mechanism to ensure children are being taken care of. It is only supposed to provide the necessities, such as food, shelter, and clothing. A college education is seen by the courts as an unnecessary and optional expense, regardless of how important you might think a degree is to your child’s future success and happiness.

In addition, child support ends when the child reaches 18 or graduates from high school. Child support may also continue until a child reaches the age of 20, but only if they still have not graduated from high school. Due to these circumstances, it is virtually impossible for court-ordered child support to continue after high school graduation and into college.

How You Can Continue Receiving Child Support After Your Child Graduates

With all that said, it is possible to continue receiving child support after your child graduates from high school. You can do this by creating a separation agreement and avoiding a trial-based divorce. In order to do this, you will need to work with an attorney who is experienced with a process called collaborative divorce. This involves you and your spouse working together and agreeing upon every aspect of your divorce behind closed doors, with the assistance of your attorneys.

You can agree upon matters related to property division, child custody, alimony, and of course, child support. Note that when you agree on how these factors are handled, you do not necessarily have to follow the same rules as you would in a standard, trial-based divorce. This means that when you agree upon matters related to child support, you can arrange for child support to continue after the child graduates high school. You can also determine exactly how much money each spouse should contribute to things like tuition fees, textbooks, living expenses, and so on. With this approach, you can make sure that your child receives the financial support they need to pursue a college education.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have helped numerous spouses work toward a favorable divorce outcome, taking into account important factors like child support and college tuition. We understand that it is essential to lay the foundations for the success of your children, and we can help you achieve this goal through collaborative divorce. We will make sure your divorce agreement contains the conditions and provisions necessary for the future educational growth of your family. Book your consultation today, and we can explain more.