Do I Have to Financially Support My Adult Children After Divorce?

A parent’s obligation to pay child support generally terminates upon the earliest of the following dates:

  • the child’s emancipation, which occurs when the child turns 18
  • the child’s high school graduation, if they are still in high school; or
  • the child’s  19th  birthday. 

However, there are certain situations in which parents may still be required to financially support their child into adulthood, even after divorce.

College Expenses After Divorce

The court may award money for an adult child’s college expenses until the child is 23. In special circumstances, this may be extended up until the child is 25. The court can also request that the parents provide funds for up to five college applications, two standardized entrance exams and one examination preparation course. This can be used for any college, vocational, professional or other post-high school graduation training.

Educational expenses can include:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Living expenses
  • Meal plans
  • Medical expenses
  • The costs of books and other necessary school supplies

These requirements will end, unless good cause is shown, if the adult child has below a “C” grade point average, reaches the age of 23, obtains a bachelor degree or marries. If the adult child enlists in the armed forces, is incarcerated or becomes pregnant, the court will still be able to require educational assistance from the parents.

Prior to or after the dissolution of marriage, parents may opt to fund accounts for the adult child’s educational expenses that will be considered in determining college contributions.

Further information about how to determine parental college contributions can be found here.

Financial Responsibilities for Parents of Children with Disabilities

If a non-minor child has a mental or physical disability, the court may require continued support into the child’s adulthood. This may include traditional child support and/or contribution to other expenses, such as healthcare expenses or residential placement.

Adult Childrens’ Inheritance

Inheritance is often not considered during divorce proceedings, however, accounts or trusts can be made in the child’s name to help protect their future assets.

The attorneys at Kogut & Wilson are skilled in the complexities of divorce law and are ready to answer any questions surrounding college payments, future inheritance and other topics related to divorce with adult children.


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