DearCustomer- You would have to file a motion to amend the child support order to include college expenses. Frankly I seriously doubt that the court is going to order additional money at this point in time since this was not part of the original agreement and is not generally a part of general child support. You certainly have a right to file the motion and you are going to state that there has been a change in circumstances and that child support should be increased to include college expenses.
Child support in New Jersey doesn't automatically end at age 18, but rather when the child is declared to be emancipated by the court.
The recent trend in New Jersey has been to require parents to pay for the college costs for their children. Therefore, if the child is attending college, then it is very unlikely that a court will grant an emancipation motion. When a court makes a decision as to whether or not to require a parent to pay for a child's college education and related expenses, the court must consider the complete set of facts of each case. The court will analyze the following factors to assess if a parent should pay for a child's college costs; (1) the effect of the background, values, and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education; (2) the amount of contribution sought by the child for the cost of the higher education; (3) the ability of the parent to pay that cost; (4) the relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child; (5) the financial resources of both parties; (6) the commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education; (7) the financial resources of the child, including assets held individually or in custodianship or trust; (8) the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation; (9) the availability of financial aid in the form of college grants; (10) the child's relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; (11) the relationship of education requested to any prior training and to the overall long range goals of the child.
The decision on whether or not a parent should pay for the college costs rests in the court's hand. However, there is a strong trend towards requiring parents, if they are financial capable, to pay for the college. In most cases, the courts will not require the payor to pay for college and for child support at the same time.
Essentially, in your motion you ask that the court not find your child to be emancipated because he will be attending school. Note that you will incur expenses for your son's education and therefore have a continuing need for child support and that the father has the ability to contribute to these expenses. What you ask the court to award is up to you -you are more familiar with the financial circumstances of all parties. However, you could ask that he continue to pay for child support and no college expenses, that he pay for college, and no child support, or a combination of the two. Ultimately, the court is going to decide what a fair arrangement is based on income.
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