How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask RobertJDFL Your Own Question
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11985
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
RobertJDFL is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Am I obligated to help pay for my sons college I am divorced

This answer was rated:

Am I obligated to help pay for my sons college? I am divorced and the divorce decree does not state that I am. I am the non custodial parent but have joint custody. I DO NOT pay child support but receive it because my ex make so much more than I do. I work full time but having to pay a certain amount of my son's college would really hurt. I barely make ends meet now. I have no problem helping out but can't state a percentage or amount that I could pay.

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney, and will be happy to try and assist you further, if you could provide me with some more information first. Also, you should know that due to site limitations, I can't always see all of the information you may have typed, so if I ask a redundant question, I apologize in advance. Can you please tell me:


1) What state is this in? Generally, support terminates by the time a child is in college unless the decree provides otherwise, but I want to review applicable law and try to let you know for certain.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I am located in Indiana. My son starts his senior year of high school this fall and turns 18 in September.
I've submitted my answer 3 times, but each time it isn't posting to you -might be a site error. I will try later.
Alright, I'm going to try again, and see if this works.

Under the Indiana Code, unless an order exists that states you must contribute, then there is no obligation to do so. In considering whether to grant such an order, the court looks to many factors, including the financial abilities of both parents to contribute, and the possibility of the child obtaining other souces of financial aid for schooling (such as scholarships). Specifically, the code reads:

IC 31-16-6-2
Expenses for child's education and health care; Title IV-D fees
Sec. 2. (a) The child support order or an educational support order may also include, where appropriate:
(1) amounts for the child's education in elementary and secondary schools and at postsecondary educational institutions, taking into account:
(A) the child's aptitude and ability;
(B) the child's reasonable ability to contribute to educational expenses through:
(i) work;
(ii) obtaining loans; and
(iii) obtaining other sources of financial aid reasonably available to the child and each parent; and
(C) the ability of each parent to meet these expenses;
(2) special medical, hospital, or dental expenses necessary to serve the best interests of the child; and
(3) fees mandated under Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651 through 669).
(b) If the court orders support for a child's educational expenses at a postsecondary educational institution under subsection (a), the court shall reduce other child support for that child that:
(1) is duplicated by the educational support order; and
(2) would otherwise be paid to the custodial parent.

This doesn't mean your husband can't try to go back to court to try and get the order modified, just that he will have to show you are in a position to contribute financially, which you make appear may not be the case at this point and time.

The law does provide that a child attending college in Indiana will receive support until the age of 21 in most cases. The code reads:

IC 31-16-6-6
Termination or modification of child support; emancipation of child
Sec. 6. (a) The duty to support a child under this chapter ceases when the child becomes twenty-one (21) years of age unless any of the following conditions occurs:
(1) The child is emancipated before becoming twenty-one (21) years of age. In this case the child support, except for the educational needs outlined in section 2(a)(1) of this chapter, terminates at the time of emancipation, although an order for educational needs may continue in effect until further order of the court.
(2) The child is incapacitated. In this case the child support continues during the incapacity or until further order of the court.
(3) The child:
(A) is at least eighteen (18) years of age;
(B) has not attended a secondary school or postsecondary educational institution for the prior four (4) months and is not enrolled in a secondary school or postsecondary educational institution; and
(C) is or is capable of supporting himself or herself through employment.
In this case the child support terminates upon the court's finding that the conditions prescribed in this subdivision exist. However, if the court finds that the conditions set forth in clauses (A) through (C) are met but that the child is only partially supporting or is capable of only partially supporting himself or herself, the court may order that support be modified instead of terminated.
(b) For purposes of determining if a child is emancipated under subsection (a)(1), if the court finds that the child:
(1) has joined the United States armed services;
(2) has married; or
(3) is not under the care or control of:
(A) either parent; or
(B) an individual or agency approved by the court;
the court shall find the child emancipated and terminate the child support

Good luck to you. If you have any additional questions, please press the reply button, and I will be happy to assist you further.

I hope you found my answer helpful. Please click on the GREEN ACCEPT for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. A BONUS TIP is also appreciated. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated! Also, remember that the correct answer is not necessarily always the one you may want to read, but it is important that I give you the most legally correct answer for your situation based on the facts you have provided, so please be courteous when deciding whether to accept an answer and when leaving feedback.

DISCLAIMER: This response is limited by the information that you have provided to this lawyer. Based on the information you have provided, I have responded based on my knowledge and interpretation of existing laws. It is possible that if the same question was asked to another lawyer, the response could be different. This response is for "Legal Informational" purposes only and should not be confused with "Legal Advice" and nothing in this response should be construed as legal advice for any individual case. Under no circumstances does this response directly or indirectly, establish or intend to establish an Attorney-Client relationship. This response is not and shall not be construed as a solicitation for the legal services of any attorney. If you have already retained a lawyer in connection with this inquiry and this fact is unknown to this lawyer, this response should not be construed as impending and/or interfering with your attorney-client relationship with such attorney.

This information is limited in scope and is confined to the question asked and should not be relied upon to provide a comprehensive picture of any particular situation and you are strongly encouraged to seek counsel for further course of action, if applicable. In other words, this response is not intended nor shall it be construed as providing you with all the information that your legal questions/issues may require. If you do require legal advice and retention/hiring of an attorney, I encourage you to consult an attorney who is actively engaged in the practice of law in the area of law relevant to your legal questions/issues and who is admitted to the bar or lawyer licensing agency in your jurisdiction(s) or the jurisdiction(s) that has jurisdiction over your legal questions/issues. This attorney is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this response, whether from errors or omissions in the content of the response or any other sites that I may provide to you for reference.
RobertJDFL and 7 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you