Many parents are confused in the midst of their divorce when the topic of “college contribution” comes into the conversation.

“My parents didn’t pay for my college expenses and I didn’t think I would have to pay for his (or hers)!”

In all likelihood, most people did not previously think of the possibility of being divorced, so it is not surprising that most people do not know how the courts deal with whether parents should contribute to their children’s college education costs and how they will be able to do so. New Jersey courts generally view college education as a necessity, and the trend in New Jersey is to require parents to pay the college costs for their children in line with their ability to do so.

This is surprising to many parents, especially if they paid their own way through college or other higher education themselves. I hear from many parents that they want their children to pay their way through for character building, or simply because the parent does not believe they can contribute and maintain their lifestyle. However, most divorced parents in New Jersey will be required to contribute to the costs of their children’s higher education regardless of their personal views.

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