Could the court order child support for college expenses?

Could the court order child support for college expenses?

| Aug 24, 2020 | Divorce |

Utah law sets the age of majority at 18 years old. Child support typically takes affect up until the child is 18 years old and has graduated form high school. Child support does not usually cover higher education costs. However, Utah law provides several avenues for divorcing parties to plan for these expenses. 

The law on majority

The age of majority here is 18 — with one important exception. Section 15-2-1 of the Utah Code states that, in some cases, divorce judges could order child support up until the age of 21. 

In practice, these discretionary orders are rare enough that you probably do not want to base your legal strategy on securing one. The court would typically require an unusual circumstance above and beyond your desire for your child to attend college. 

The alternatives to court orders

To review: Court orders could compel your spouse to contribute to university tuition and associated costs for your children. However, this is rare. One of the most common alternatives is a custom divorce agreement, which would also be legally binding. 

Reaching an agreement with your spouse about contributing to college education could be the best way forward, absent of highly unusual circumstances. You might have success negotiating this with an alternative dispute resolution method, such as a mediation. 

Mediation is private, structured and efficient — and it allows you to determine solutions that work specifically for you. You could both contribute to an education savings account in your child’s name, for example. 

Whichever path you take, please look at your overall legal strategy before making any decisions. Careful planning and knowledge of Utah divorce precedents should help you reach the best possible outcome.