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Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6390
Experience:  20 years of professional experience
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My son just graduated from a 20,000 per year college prep school

Customer Question

My son just graduated from a 20,000 per year college prep school on Sunday. His father called domestic relations the next day to report it (I can only assume he wants to lower his child support payments.) We were never legally married but lived together for over 20 years in Pennsylvania and have two children. I know that PA doesn't require parents to assist with college tuition payments but it seems obvious to me that by paying 1/2 of his high school tuition for four years there is a clear implication that he expected the child to go to college. We've been separated since December 2014 and I'm just trying to determine if there are any legal options to force him to contribute financially.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 2 years ago.
Welcome! My name is Maverick. I very much enjoy what I do and I hope that you will benefit from this information.
PA law previously provided that courts could order parents to contribute to an adult child’s college expenses. However, PA courts have since found this law unconstitutional. That said, PA courts will uphold clear agreements between parents regarding contributions to college costs, but cannot order a parent to contribute absent such an agreement.
Q. I'm just trying to determine if there are any legal options to force him to contribute financially.
Answer: None other than to try to enforce a pre-existing agreement to that effect between the parents.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Does it have to be a written agreement?
Expert:  Maverick replied 2 years ago.
Because of the unconstitutional nature of the support order, it appears that if such an order were to issue it would need to be part of a written marital separation agreement. However, I am not finding any PA law that specifically requires it to be in writing. If you are trying to base it on an oral agreement, it is going to be an uphill battle to say the least.
This is because an implication is not the same as an agreement to actually pay such support.
Also, such agreement would have to be supported by evidence of consideration flowing between both parents. In other words, what was the father going to get from mother in exchange for agreeing to pay college tuition support?
I know this is not what you wanted to hear; but I am assuming you are paying for an honest and professional answer.
See case above for support of my previous answer.