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Oct 26 2021

Who is Responsible for College Tuition in Divorce?

Many parents have concerns about paying for their children’s college tuition post-divorce and are eager to work language that addresses the matter into their child support terms. In the State of Minnesota, however, this is not an issue that the court will take into consideration unless you and your divorcing spouse come to an agreement on the matter – in your own divorce negotiations (or in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement). 

Better understanding the law’s stance on the matter can help you make the decisions about your children’s higher education that are right for you – and them. Discussing your child support concerns with an experienced Minnesota family law attorney is the best path forward. 

Your Child’s Classification as a Child

In Minnesota, child support is based on each child remaining in the legal child classification, which includes the following:

  • Until he or she reaches the age of 18 and graduates from high school.
  • Until he or she graduates from high school (up to the age of 20).
  • Until he or she joins the military.
  • Until he or she marries. 
  • Until he or she otherwise becomes emancipated. 

The only exceptions are children with developmental disabilities who require ongoing support and care. 

The Parental Responsibility Addressed by Child Support

Child support is intended to address each parent’s financial responsibility to his or her children throughout their childhoods – but not into their adulthoods. It is certainly not uncommon for parents to want to help their children obtain college degrees, and many, many parents are financially committed to doing so. The courts, however, play no role in this and cannot compel parents to pay for or contribute to their children’s college educations. 

Agreements Between the Parents

If you and your divorcing spouse are hammering out the terms of your child support, you are welcome to do so outside the parameters of the court’s child support calculation methodology (as long as the terms you agree to meet or exceed the amount that would be ordered by the court). In other words, you can agree to more robust child support terms that include your children’s college tuition, but the court will not sign off on terms that fail to meet their financial standards. 

The same applies to prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. If you and your spouse include terms related to your children’s college educations, the court might enforce them – as long as the rest of the child support terms meet or exceed the court’s standards. 

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Minnesota Family Law Attorney for the Help You Need

If you want to negotiate child support terms that include your children’s college tuition, you’ll need to do so outside of court, and the savvy Minnesota family law lawyers at Atticus Family Law have a wealth of experience helping clients like you skillfully negotiate terms that work for them. We’re here for you, too, so please do not hesitate to contact us for more information today. 


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