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College Educational Expenses

The New Jersey Supreme Court set forth the factors for the trial courts to consider when evaluating a party's claim for contribution towards the cost of higher education in Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529, 545 (1982):

  1. whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education;
  2. the effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education;
  3. the amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education;
  4. the ability of the parent to pay that cost;
  5. the relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;
  6. the financial resources of both parents;
  7. the commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;
  8. the financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust;
  9. the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation;
  10. the availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans;
  11. the child's relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and
  12. the relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child.

In New Jersey, divorced parents are required to contribute toward their children's college education based on the factors set forth in Newburgh. In such cases, the issue arises as to whether the income from the current spouse should be examined for purposes of the other party's college contribution obligation. There are several cases which address a party's obligation to contribute toward college education expenses. In addition, a case can become more complex when one of the parties to the divorce has subsequently remarried.

As each case is very fact sensitive, sound legal advice and professional help is important to ensure the appropriate outcome. The attorneys at Donahue, Hagan, Klein & Weisberg have experience in negotiating, mediating and litigating the issue of contribution toward college educational costs and can provide the necessary advice in this area.