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Can child support be ordered for extraordinary education costs?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2022 | Family Law

In Indiana, child support is meant to pay for the child’s needs including education, a safe place to live, proper nutrition and other fundamentals. However, there are other expenses that might arise and could be part of the child support order. Still, it is imperative to know about extraordinary educational expenses and what it might cover.

Extraordinary educational expenses are not part of basic child support

Extraordinary educational expenses are not part of the basic obligation. These could be for any aspect of schooling from elementary school all the way through college or a trade school. It can account for private school or a special school. The necessity of this type of support must be considered if the child is under 19.

The court will gauge whether the parents agree that the child needs, for example, a private school or if only one prefers it. It will weigh whether the parents would have spent the required funds for this level of schooling had there not been a divorce. It will also analyze if similar education or better is available at the same cost or less.

The court will also decide if support should be awarded and how much should be paid for post-secondary education such as college, junior college, a trade school or other institution. Since it is discretionary, the cost will be a collaborative effort between the parents. The student might also be asked to share in the cost. Factors such as income, how much the parties can earn, their financial circumstances and possibility of receiving financial aid are part of the determinative process. Once the court decides that these expenses are appropriate, then it will calculate all potential expenses. This can impact the basic child support payments if the child is under 19 and is no longer living with either parent.

Child support can go beyond the basic payments

Parents want their children to have the best possible advantages. As part of child support, these extraordinary educational expenses could still stoke disagreement between the parties as to what is necessary and how much it should cost. It does not automatically mean the case will be acrimonious, but it could be complicated. Regardless of where the parents stand on these costs, it is important to have a firm understanding of the law and to be protected.

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