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Can I Force My Ex-Spouse In Pasco County, Florida To Pay College Expenses For My Child?

College is expensive, and parents who can afford to help pay for college often want to help their children avoid student loans as much as possible. For parents who are divorcing, legally both parents are not required to help pay for a child’s college. The child is considered an adult at age 18, and child support usually stops then, unless a child is still in high school and will graduate by his or her 19th birthday. In that case child support will terminate upon graduation.

However, although courts cannot order one parent to pay for a child’s college, in some cases the parents will come to an agreement that one parent has to pay for college expenses. Because college expenses have increased so sharply in the last couple of decades, the issue of payment of college expenses can be something major to negotiate in the divorce settlement.

Under Florida law, although parents aren’t legally obligated to pay for college for their children, if parents do make an agreement as part of a divorce settlement, Florida courts will help enforce that agreement. If you do wish to ask your child’s parent for future college expenses in the divorce settlement, you should seek legal advice.

It is tough to anticipate the cost of college, since the prices vary so much depending on whether you go to a community college or a private Ivy-league school, and whether you live at home, a dorm or an upscale apartment. This can be especially true when the children are young and you don’t even know if they will choose to attend college in 10 years or more. You may choose to include language requiring a spouse to pay reasonable college expenses, or you may choose to get more specific.

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