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How does college affect child support payments?

After a divorce, the non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent child care payments for a set amount of time. Under Indiana law, the non-custodial parent must continue payments until the child is nineteen years old, is no longer under parental care, joins the military, gets married or dies.

You may be wondering about college. Your child can probably not afford college expenses on their own, and there is a good chance that the custodial parent may not be able to afford college payments on their own either. How will your child pay for their last few years of school if they stop receiving payments at the age of nineteen?

Educational support payments

Students typically enter college between the ages of 17-18, and graduate between the ages of 21-22. That means that child support payments would end approximately halfway through their college education. If the child is not receiving significant financial aid, this could place intense financial pressure on your child, and even lead to an early departure from school.

To protect your child's access to education, Indiana allows them to file for continued support payments to fund their educational needs up until the age of twenty-one. At that point, they will once again be taken off of mandatory child support payments.

If the order for child support payments was issued prior to July 1, 2012, the petition for educational payments can be made up until your child's twenty-first birthday. If the order was issued after this date, the petition must be filed before your child turns twenty-one.

Restrictions on payments

College costs vary greatly depending on the school that your child chooses to attend. Public schools versus private schools, in-state versus out-of-state tuition all affect the cost of your child's education.

To limit the burden of parent support payments, Indiana courts may require that your child attend a state supported institution. If your family has a higher income level, or your child has a history of high academic achievement, they may allow for private school attendance.

Determining payments

The court determines your educational payments based on the percentage of payments you were previously required to provide for your child's care. However, the court adjusts this number after considering each parent's ability to pay, as well as your child's ability to pay for part of their education costs.

Child support payments can be very complicated, and emotionally charged, for the entire family. Contact an attorney who can make sure that both your and your child's needs are fought for.

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Cindy L. Kenworthy, P.C.
3891 Eagle Creek Parkway, Suite C
Indianapolis, IN 46254

Phone: 317-762-7105
Fax: 317-472-1729
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