Requirement(s) of Child Receiving Support for College through an Order of the Court

As most people know, a parent going through a divorce or divorced or a parent in parentage case can petition the Court for assistance of payment of a child’s post-secondary educational expenses, which include: tuition and fees, housing, medical expenses, reasonable living expenses and the cost of books or other supplies necessary to attend college.  However, a child is not a third-party beneficiary and cannot petition the Court for assistance on their own for support with post-secondary educational expenses.


If educational expenses are ordered payable, each party and the child shall sign any consent necessary for the educational institution to provide a supporting party with access to the child’s academic transcripts, records, and grade reports (this does not apply to any non-academic records). And failure to execute the required consent may be a basis for a modification or termination of any order entered under this Section.  Also, unless the court specifically finds that the child’s safety would be jeopardized, each party is entitled to know the name of the educational institution the child attends.


The statute also makes provisions for educational expenses to terminate when the child either: fails to maintain a cumulative “C” grade point average, except in the event of Illness or other good cause shown, attains the age of 23, receives a baccalaureate degree, or marries.  However, a child enlisting in the armed forces, being incarcerated, or becoming pregnant does not terminate the court’s authority to make provisions for the educational expenses for the child under this Section.


The statute makes sense: if a parent is going to be ordered to pay for a child’s post-secondary education, the child should inform them of where they are going to school, give them access to their grades and maintain at least a “C” average.  The Court is not going to manage the child’s obligations, the parent will need to petition the court if the child is not abiding the parent wants to inforce this portion of the statute. If the child does not want to abide by these laws, they can always apply for school on their own. However, hopefully the child will want their parents to be involved in their schooling and this will not be an issue.

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