Q: In NJ, when parents were never married, does the non custodial father have to pay for college in addition to CS?
Child was estranged and the father had no input on college decisions. Father also can't afford to contribute to college on top of the child support he is already paying. Couple was never married and have no agreement about college.
A: Whether married or not, the obligations owed to a child remain the same ..... but the starting point in this discussion is the language of your agreement or court order for child support & parenting time. Presumably, your agreement / court order provided you and your ex with a joint legal custodial plan with your ex as the primary custodial parent and you as the parent of alternate residence and required discussion on major decisions concerning the child's health education and general well being. I gather the agreement / court order was silent on the issue of college contribution and emancipation and now your ex has sent you paperwork stating that your child is in college and the cost is ______ and that she wants you to pay ____ towards the total cost and she wants you to also continue to pay her ____ in child support until your child graduates from college. And, you are trying to figure out what to do. The best advice I can give you is that you need to sit down with a "certified" matrimonial trial lawyer ( not simply a lawyer who advertises that he specializes in divorce work) to discuss your matter and whether you actually have a legal obligation to contribute. Saying that you are estranged from the child is not the end of the discussion and in and of itself will not absolve you of responsibility. Its relevant but it is not dispositive of the issue. Diamond & Diamond are divorce and family law specialists and I am a Certified Divorce & Family Law Attorney by the NJ Supreme Court and if you would like to schedule a consultation with me or another partner in the firm, please call Angela at 973-379-9292 to arrange it.
A: Thank you for your question. There are many different factors to consider when analyzing your particular question. It is not a cut and dry answer so there is information we need from you to be in a position to better guide you. A court could require a contribution toward that cost but based upon the limited information you provided, there may be exceptions to that general rule that an attorney can discuss with you. Please contact one and be in a position to better guide you.
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