Can I Get Child Support for College Expenses in SC?

Many noncustodial divorced parents often view their kid’s 18th birthday as a reason to celebrate. That’s because they feel the burden of having to pay monthly child support payments will finally be removed from their pocketbook. You can finally quit working overtime, take your first vacation in years, fix the deck, or complete any tasks that have been putting on hold for the last few years. 

To the dismay of many non-custodial parents, child support obligation can continue beyond childhood. Not simply because you owe back support payments. Child support for college expenses can lead to an extension of payments while your kid is attending university. This is referred to as post-secondary education expenses child support, which is also known as post-minority support. 

No uniform policies exist concerning post-secondary education child support. Thus, each state treats the matter differently. In some states, post-secondary education child support is illegal. In others, post-secondary education support is explicitly legal as it’s provided for by statute. Our family law lawyers in Greenville practice in all family law matters, including cases involving educational expenses, such as college expenses. Contact our Greenville law office today at (864) 475-9393 to see how we can help you.

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What is Included in Child Support Payment in Greenville, South Carolina ?

According to the Shares Model, child support in Greenville should cover more than the basics if the parents’ income can provide more than the basics, including:

  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • School fees
  • Medical expenses
  • Utilities
  • Transportation (not related to visitation)
  • Recreation, including entertainment
  • Extracurricular activities
Child Support for College Expenses

The monthly amount doesn’t include child care expenses. However, an additional amount to pay a part of child care expenditure (up to 100%) is awarded. South Carolina child support isn’t calculated to cover savings or gifts. In some states, the court will award payment for college expense contributions to a noncustodial parent, even after their kid turns 18.

When can Support Payment Be Extended Beyond the Age of 18?

There are many cases when child support doesn’t end, even when the kid reaches the age of 18. This may include a scenario where the kid doesn’t graduate until they turn 19.

Here are some other scenarios where the payment of child support may continue past the age of 18:

  • The kid is still attending college: There may be a mutual agreement between divorcing parties in a divorce decree to continue child support payments beyond the age of18, as long as the kid is enrolled in a trade school, college, or another form of post-high school education. Here, South Carolina family courts have the mandate to require divorcing parties to contribute to make a contribution to college expenses and other postsecondary education expenses under certain instances.
  • The kid has a disability: South Carolina courts often extend the obligation of a noncustodial parent to pay child support past the age of 18 when the child has special needs or is disabled.

If one of these scenarios exists, it must be specified in the decree. The obligation of the paying parent will end unless the receiving parent or the supported child petitions the family court for a child support modification order.

It’s crucial to note that if you owe back child support arrears, you shouldn’t expect those arrears to be forgiven or forgotten when your kid turns 18. Even if you’re no longer required to pay any support in the future, you still owe the custodial parent whatever unpaid amount was accumulated before your kid celebrates their eighteenth birthday.

If My Kid Enters College, How Long Will I be Required to Pay for College Tuition?

Because college tuition expenses are child support obligations under the law, they’re subject to modification, termination, and child support enforcement. Often, when your kid is attending college, they aren’t self-supporting or emancipated. Your responsibility to pay for college expenses will officially end once your kid is emancipated, or by the time your child earns an undergraduate degree.

However, the amount you must pay when your child is attending college may be reduced, especially if the child is living at school, for instance. This is because the cost of college tuition often includes boarding and room expenses and the receiving parent isn’t incurring these expenses.

What Factors Do Courts Consider When Deciding Child Support and College Expenses?

Courts look at numerous factors when determining whether to award college expense support to a non-custodial parent, such as:

  • The financial circumstances of both parents, including savings, income, and investments,
  • The standard of living the kid would have enjoyed had two parties not divorced,
  • The financial resources of the kid, including scholarships and financial aids, and
  • The kid’s academic performance; for instance, whether the kid was going to go to college, anyway.

Typical post-secondary education expense includes room, tuition, and board, transport expenses, dues/fees, books, medical expenses, and general living expenses.

Are Parties Who are Divorced, or Separated, Obligated to Pay for Their Child’s Post-Secondary Education Expenses?

Often, most post-high school expense matters are addressed during the Greenville divorce proceedings, along with other child support matters. However, when there are no mutual agreements for college expenses in place, the divorced parties are required to pay for their child’s college costs; however, this decision largely depends on the state laws.

Some states require divorced spouses to pay for college-related expenses based on the rationale that a kid’s educational needs and interests shouldn’t suffer because of a divorce. while other states view these as future expenses and don’t request awards for college expenses and/or reimbursement.

When Should I Petition the Court to End Child Support in Greenville, SC?

If child support is paid directly from the parent of alternate residence to the parent of primary residence, then the noncustodial parent can stop making support payments when their legal obligation ends. If this circumstance applies to you, be careful not to stop paying child support too soon. Also, it’s essential to note that if you’re supporting other minor kids, you still owe a financial obligation to them. Whatever the divorce decree states is equivalent to a court order, and you must follow it if you don’t want to be in legal trouble.

If you pay child support through the clerk’s office or court, you may have to petition the family law court to end your obligation to pay. If the emancipated kid is your only kid or your youngest child, many clerk’s offices will allow you to show their high school diploma or birth certificate to prove the child is self-supporting and your child support obligation account should be ended.

child support for college

However, if you still have other minor children you’re supporting, even after your support for the self-supporting child ends, you must file a legal action with the family law court to reduce your child support amount based on that fact. If you do that without modification of child support court order, the clerk’s office will reflect a child support arrears on your account.  

If your child support obligation was initially set by the Department of Social Services, they’ll allow a review of your legal obligation every 3 years. If the end of that period of time coincides with the year of emancipation for one of your kids, contact them to review your obligation and make adjustments to your account. 

Courts don’t have the resources to monitor when child support obligations expire, and it’s up to you to bring this issue to their attention. This is essential, especially if a portion of your paycheck is being withheld to pay maintenance. Otherwise, the court will continue to deduct this amount from your income until you take legal action to stop it.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Lawyer for Legal Advice!

As with most family law issues, a child’s parents, rather than the judges, are best able to decide their child’s educational interests and needs, considering their child’s preference and personality. However, when a mutual agreement can’t be reached concerning child support and college expenses, it’s necessary to speak with a skilled Greenville child support attorney. Get started today by contacting an experienced family law attorney at Greenville Family Attorneys today at (864) 475-9393 for a free case review.

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