Parents who are no longer living together are often faced with the task of deciding on future issues related to child support and expenses for the child. In the state of North Carolina, the Child Support Statutes do not require a parent to pay child support past the age of 18, or past their graduation from high school if the child turns 18 years old while still in high school. There are narrow exceptions to this rule for a child with special needs. However, even if the parent is not obligated to pay under the Statutes, the parties involved can contractually agree to do so.
When deciding on future issues related to child support, an option some parents choose to take is to enter into an agreement to resolve child support obligations. Within this agreement, the parties may agree to split college tuition with each party paying a portion of the expenses. However, differences in income between the two parties may not make this a viable option. Instead, if one party makes significantly less than the other, the parties may choose to split the cost proportional to their income at the time the child is attending college. If there is more than one child between the parties, the parties may agree that one parent pays for one child’s tuition and the other parent pay for the other child. When the parties are in the process of negotiating and entering into an agreement, they can decide on these terms and how they want these terms structured in their agreement. It is smart to speak with a family law attorney to know all of your options. Although neither party is obligated to pay for the child’s tuition, the parents can still agree to pay for the child’s college expenses outside of the courts in a legally binding written agreement.
Overall, the North Carolina Child Support Statutes do not obligate a parent to pay for the child’s college tuition or support beyond high school. However, parents can choose to pay for the child’s college tuition through a legally binding contract. In addition, even if parents are not legally obligated to pay for college tuition and expenses, they can still agree to pay on their own.
To learn more about paying for college tuition or to get advice on whether or not to agree to do so, contact Hatcher Law Group, where an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate through these decisions and find out all of your options.