Does My Ex Have to Support Our Daughter Through a 4 Year University Degree or Just an Associates or None?

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“I live in Chicago. Last year my daughter graduated from high school. Her father and I agreed to put her through college; just until she completed her BA. Recently my relationship with my daughter’s father has turned sour. He has just told her that he will not help her pay for her BA; but will only help pay for her to get an Associate degree. Our original plan was for her to get her Associate at a junior college and then transfer to a University to complete her education. This would save us money in the long run. What legal recourse can I take to maintain my daughter’s future? Yes, we both split all of her bills. Including her education, cell phone, allowance…etc.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

I am answering under California Law, and it may be different in your state. Normally there is an obligation to support children only until they reach the age of majority. If your agreement to support your daughter through college was part of your divorce decree, then the provisions of your decree should be enforceable. If college expenses are in your decree as stipulated support then the Court can enforce those provisions of your decree as support. If it is in your decree only as a contractual agreement (or if we are talking about an oral contract that would be difficult to prove) then that agreement for college expense paying may be enforceable as a contract, but you would be limited to contract rememdies, and not have the full weight of child support enforcement behind your agreement.

If your agreement is non-specific about the degree (or ambiguous in general), make sure your daughter at least gets help with the Associates before alienating the funding source.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.