Can you ask for child support for college costs in Alabama?

| Nov 11, 2020 | Divorce |

If you share children with your spouse but know that you need to get a divorce, you may have to really think about the financial impact of changing your family’s circumstances. You may have to work more in order to maintain the same standard of living you currently enjoy. Your children could also have to deal with decreased household resources for their enjoyment.

Few financial investments are as concerning for parents as the cost of college tuition. If you expect to get divorced before your children finish their degrees, can you ask for child support to help cover college costs under Alabama law?

The Alabama courts won’t create college support obligations

Generally speaking, child support in Alabama ends when your child turns 19. While certain scenarios, such as a child with severe special needs, may motivate the courts to extend support obligations into adulthood, college attendance will not do the same.

If your child is to start attending college before they reach the age of 19, the costs incurred until their birthday could influence your support. However, once they reach 19 years of age, you probably won’t be able to ask for a new child support order, modification or continuation of your existing support.

You can reach an agreement to cover college

Your children don’t have to take out massive student loans or give up on their dreams of higher education just because the Alabama courts won’t compel your ex to pay for college. Hopefully, your former spouse recognizes the importance of education to your child’s success and future happiness just like you do.

You have the option of agreeing to terms on your own for major issues, which means you can reach an agreement to share the costs of college. Such an agreement could include obligations for both parents to continue covering college expenses for as long as your shared children remain in the world. While the courts may not set those terms on their own, they can help you enforce them later if necessary.

If you worry about college costs for your children, that is something you absolutely want to discuss with an attorney in the early stages of planning for your divorce.