For many parents, divorce is a financial strain. The strain is increased for individuals who have children, and they may be unsure how far their responsibility reaches. Though a judge may mandate that you are responsible for your child's expenses in the form of child support, you may be unsure if you are legally responsible to pay for your child's college education.
This guide will help you prepare for the court issues that may lie ahead.
Colorado's Age of Emancipation Is 19
One of the first factors you might consider is the fact that the age of emancipation in Colorado is 19. The age of emancipation is the age at which you are no longer legally required to care for your child's expenses or provide a home and other care for them.
Colorado Will Not Require You to Pay for College
Colorado courts do not have the right to order you to pay for post-secondary education, unless you agree to do so and in is made into a court order.
If you made an agreement to pay for college, you would need to address the specifics. Otherwise, this leaves open the possibility of other school expenses, including room and board, textbooks, tuition, and related fees.
Colorado Cannot Make New Orders to Pay for College Education
Since July of 1997, Colorado judges do not typically order parents to pay for the education of their children once they are adults and want to go to college. Some exceptions exist, so you do need to discuss the specifics of your case with your attorney.
Still, court orders established before 1997 under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14 Domestic Matters § 14-10-115 may require that you continue to make payments if your child is still in school.
Colorado Allows You to Mediate College Costs
Perhaps you do want to pay for your child's college costs, and your ex-spouse is willing to work with you to ensure your child gets into school. In mediation, you may agree that both of you will pay for a certain percentage of your child’s education, and perhaps you will pay a flat fee. If both parties agree, you can sign an agreement without court interference. However, if you both agree and your agreement is made into a court order, then you will be bound to that agreement.
Colorado Family Law Attorneys Can Help
Of course, you may have no idea which laws apply to you and whether or not you have a special circumstance. For that reason, it makes sense that you want to speak with an attorney about your case. A family law attorney will direct you toward the answers you need and help you prepare for a potential court case.
Divorce can be confusing, and you may find it difficult to pay for your child's educational costs when you have to pay for divorce, alimony or maintenance, and child support. Often, mediating the issue of college costs with a spouse is a great way to reach an agreement together.
The Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. understands that legal matters are expensive, and nobody wants to face a battle about finances, custody, or other child-centric issues. If you are unsure how to move forward with your case, call us. We will assess your case and determine if you are legally responsible for the finances. We offer a free initial consultation.