Can my ex force me not to pay for my child’s college tuition, even though I can afford to pay it in full?
My ex and I have a growing history of income disparity.
I never took child support, I pay all expenses (medical, extracurricular), I drive her between homes, and we split 50/50 visitation. But he doesn’t want me paying for college, even though I am able to – he wants our child to take out loans instead.
To answer your question as it applies in Utah (where I practice family law), in my professional opinion: no.
Child support does not continue after a child is legally emancipated by reaching adulthood, which in Utah means the date at which the child reaches 18 years of age or graduates from high school during the child’s normal and expected year of graduation, whichever occurs later (Utah Code Section 78B-12-219(1)).
Exception can be made for child support to continue to age 21:
Utah Code Section 15-2-1. Period of minority.
The period of minority extends in males and females to the age of 18 years; but all minors obtain their majority by marriage. It is further provided that courts in divorce actions may order support to age 21.
For child support to continue past 18 years of age or the child’s normal and expected year of graduation, however, the trial court has power to order continued child support until age 21 when it appears to be necessary and when the court makes findings of any special or unusual circumstances to justify the order. Hibbens v. Hibbens, 2015, 363 P.3d 524. Authority of trial court, under statute, to extend a parent’s obligation to support his or her child beyond the age of 18 is discretionary and may only be exercised upon a finding of necessity and special or unusual circumstances. Balls v. Hackley, 1987, 745 P.2d 836.
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