Unlike child support and child support add-ons, the payment of college expenses is not mandated by New York State law. In negotiating an agreement to settle a divorce or a separation, parties will generally address the issue of college expenses, so long as the children are not infants. Sometimes people choose to leave that issue for the future, but most times it’s addressed. Parties will agree to allocate the expenses of college education in the future, or even presently ongoing expenses, between the parties in some fashion. Sometimes it will be 50/50 and sometimes pro-rata, based upon their incomes or other scenarios.
Sometimes if one person is making a lot of money while the other person is not, and that person is an interested parent, they may agree to take on the entire college expense burden. It’s really negotiable. Sometimes parties agree to cap the expenses to what we call SUNY (State University of New York) caps, so that neither party is obligated to pay more than their share of what it would cost to put the child through a SUNY education. However, if the court is involved in making the decision, generally speaking today with parties who are college educated themselves, the court will make a decision and allocate college expenses between the parties, even though there is nothing in the law that actually directs that the court must do that.
Robert Pollack is an experienced divorce and family law attorney in Long Island, New York. Contact The Pollack Law Firm, P.C., to set up a free initial consultation.