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lwpat, Lawyer
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Experience:  Practicing family law attorney
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I am divorced. My ex wife is seeking post minority child support

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I am divorced. My ex wife is seeking post minority child support for my 2 children in college who are turning 19 in June. There is nothing stated in the original divorce decree stating that I am responsible for post minority child support for my children when they go to college. Is there a law on the books in Alabama stating that I am responsible for this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question and for using JA. Please click accept so I will receive credit from JA for my time.

Alabama courts may require parents to provide post-minority support for child's college education. Ex Parte Bayliss, 550 So. 2d 1038 (1989); Ala. Code § 30-3-1.

 

Courts do not use the normal child support guidelines in determining the amount of post-secondary educational support. Instead, courts evaluate the reasonable necessaries for the child to attend college after reaching majority. Thrasher v. Wilburn, 574 So.2d 839 (Ala.Civ.App. 1990). The adult child or custodial parent needs to give notice that the child seeks post-majority support before reaching 19 years of age. Newman v. Newman, 667 So.2d 1362, 1367-8 (Ala.Civ.App. 1994).

 

The daughter's final argument is that the trial court erred in denying her petition for post-minority support for her college education expenses. The general principles concerning child support also apply to a motion for post-minority support for college expenses. Berry v. Berry, 579 So.2d 654 (Ala.Civ.App.1991). We are mindful that where evidence is presented ore tenus, the trial court's judgment regarding child support is presumed correct unless it is not supported by the evidence and is therefore plainly and palpably wrong. Berry, supra.

A trial court has jurisdiction to require either parent or both parents to provide post-minority support for college expenses. Bayliss, supra.; see also Ex parte Jones, 592 So.2d 608 (Ala.1991). It is required 1368*1368 that the action be filed before the child attains age 19. Ex parte Barnard, 581 So.2d 489 (Ala.1991). The relevant factors for the trial court's determination include "all relevant factors that shall appear reasonable and necessary, including primarily the financial resources of the parents and the child and the child's commitment to, and aptitude for, the requested education." Bayliss at 987. (Emphasis in original.) Further, Bayliss permits the trial court to take into consideration the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved and "the child's relationship with [her] parents and responsiveness to parental advice." Bayliss at 987.

One primary factor to consider in determining whether an award of post-minority support for a college education is appropriate is the financial ability of the parent to contribute toward the child's college expenses. Bayliss, supra. Further, other economic factors, e.g., whether the father can assist the child without undue hardship, the child's needs, and the actual college expenses, are appropriate for consideration. See Thrasher v. Wilburn, 574 So.2d 839 (Ala. Civ.App.1990).


http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8398425430850907920&q=Newman+v.+Newman,+667+So.2d+1362&hl=en&as_sdt=2,41

 

Section 30-3-1

Custody and education of children upon grant of divorce; custody of children where wife abandons husband.

 

Upon granting a divorce, the court may give the custody and education of the children of the marriage to either father or mother, as may seem right and proper, having regard to the moral character and prudence of the parents and the age and sex of the children; and pending the action, may make such orders in respect to the custody of the children as their safety and well-being may require. But in cases of abandonment of the husband by the wife, he shall have the custody of the children after they are seven years of age, if he is a suitable person to have such charge.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am somewhat familiar with Bayliss vs Bayliss. However, is this stautory law in the state of Alabama? I understand that it is judicial law. Both my children are attending college and working. They are taking out student loans to pay any balance of tuition after scholarships and grants.
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
The statute is 30-3-1. While it does not specifically say college expenses, that is the way the courts have interpreted the statute.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is this a statutory law in the state of Alabama? Please clarify "statute" in your last reply. What is the statute?
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
The statute is 30-3-1. I gave it to you in my first answer.

An accept for my time is always appreciated and required for me to receive any credit from JA
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
30-3-1 is a rather vague statute. But most importantly, it there any statutory law in Alabama stating post-minority child support?
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
That is the statute the courts say gives them the authority to order that support and there is a lot of case law to that effect. You are beating your head against a brick wall. You need to concentrate on showing that there either is no need for the support or that you do not have the ability to pay.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This I understand. And I do appreciate your honest and blunt answers to my questions. I simply want to know if there is a law/statute in Alabama stating that a divorced non custodial parent is required to pay post-minority child support for educational expenses. A yes or no answer would suffice. I understand the 30-3-1 statute, however vague. Thank you.
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
The answer is yes there is. The statute is 30-3-1. It does not matter whether the statute is vague or not since it has been interpreted by the courts.

an accept for my time is always appreciated and required for me to receive any credit from JA
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I appreciate your answers to my questions. I have read this statute, and there is absolutely no references to post-minority support. I guess I will have to deal with it from that angle. Unfortunately, I believe that the statute is incredibly vague and really doesn't seem to support the action. Thank you.
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
You are welcome and good luck
lwpat, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 25384
Experience: Practicing family law attorney
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