college expenses in a divorce

Long ago our divorce courts had the power to make orders and approve agreements regarding the children’s college expenses. Frankly, that never seemed quite right to me. In an intact family there isn’t a legal obligation to pay for college. Although usually there is no more worthy nor profitable investment than in a child’s future, there are circumstances when a beloved child’s college lifestyle doesn’t deserve to be subsidized. Anyway, in 2004, the NH Legislature changed the law and took away the Court’s power to make such orders.  That law was just changed by some new legislation.  Although the Court still cannot make its own order on how college expenses are to be allocated between the parents, it now has the authority to approve and enforce an agreement between the parties on payment of college expenses.  Such an agreement between the parties must define each party’s contribution by amount, percentage or formula.  The agreement has to indicate whether or not the agreement is later modifiable, and upon what terms.  Lastly, the agreement has to be approved by the Court.

By:  Peter G. Webb, Esquire


Posted in: Family Law


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