Child Support

Child Support For Emancipated Daughter: College Costs

Mother’s Motion To Compel Father To Pay A Portion Of Emancipated Daughter’s College Costs Is Denied

Plaintiff Dawn Powell appealed the Family Part’s order denying her motion to compel defendant Jasper Rowe to pay a portion of the college costs incurred by their now-emancipated daughter. Neither plaintiff nor the child moved to have defendant contribute to the child’s higher educational expenses before or while they were incurred. In the meantime, plaintiff individually took out two loans for the child’s education totaling $105,412. After the child finished graduate school, the parties entered into a consent order emancipating the child. Two days before the emancipation consent order was entered, plaintiff filed a motion seeking to have defendant contribute toward the student loans for the child. The Family Part judge denied the application, determining that plaintiff had filed the motion too late, years after the child had incurred her undergraduate and graduate expenses. On appeal, plaintiff urges that the matter be remanded for a plenary comprehensive application of the 12 factors for parental college contributions recited in Newburgh vs. Arrigo. Defendant had no contemporaneous participation in the child’s decision-making process. Defendant and the daughter seldom communicated, and he was largely unaware of her educational plans. The daughter did not consult with him about her college finances, nor was there any adjustment of his child support level sought while she was attending school. Defendant continued to pay plaintiff over $7,000 annually in child support, a level that may well have been reduced had he been required to contribute to the child’s educational expenses. The panel found no need to remand this matter for a hearing to parse through in more detail the Newburgh factors. None of them individually or collectively would be realistically likely to lead to a different outcome. The appellate panel affirmed the order denying plaintiff’s motion.

Reference: 20-2-1618 Powell v. Rowe, N.J. Super. App. Div., Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 222 N.J.L.J. 3390, (October 24, 2016)

Filed Under: Child Support, College Costs, Emancipated Child; Family Law

Kindly visit our Family Law and Child Support websites for more information on this topic.