Post-Secondary Educational Support Obligations

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Posted in On June 14, 2024

Post-secondary educational obligations are those that a Court may order on a parent to financially contribute to a child’s college educational expenses. In Indiana, Courts may order divorced, separated, or parents of a child born out of wedlock to contribute to a child’s post-secondary educational expenses. Post-secondary educational support orders differ from child support orders in that child support orders typically terminate on the child’s 19th birthday, while post-secondary educational support orders can continue past the child’s 19th birthday.

In Indiana, post-secondary educational support obligations are to be considered a group effort between both of the parents and the child to contribute to the expenses. In calculating the post-secondary education support order, the Court will take into consideration various factors including but not limited to the child’s aptitude and ability, the child’s ability to contribute to educational expenses by working, obtaining loans, and ability to obtain financial aid, and each of the parent’s ability to contribute to such expenses.

How to Establish Post-Secondary Support Obligations

A post-secondary educational support obligation may be set forth in divorce, paternity, or child custody decree. If the support obligation is not established in a divorce, paternity, or child custody decree, a party wishing to obtain post-secondary educational support must file a petition to establish post-secondary educational support before the child’s 19th birthday, unless the order to support the child was established before July 1, 2012, in which case the petition may be filed any time before the child is 21 years of age.

Other Obligations and Considerations Arising from a Post-Secondary Educational Support Order

Generally, a post-secondary educational support order will include costs for tuition, living expenses, fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. Alongside educational expenses, the Court has authority to include medical, dental, vision, and other healthcare related costs as part of the order.

Furthermore, it is strongly encouraged for the Court to issue a post-secondary educational support order in which to remain eligible to receive post-secondary educational support, the child should be required to maintain a certain level of academic performance. Courts have the authority and discretion to set certain levels of academic performance when appropriate and on a case-by-case basis. In the past, Courts can require children to provide parents with end-of-semester report cards, maintain a minimum grade-point-average, and/or the child must not be subject to any disciplinary action as a result of violating school policies.

In addition, Courts may limit consideration of post-secondary educational expenses based on tuition from in-state and state-supported colleges and universities. Expenses pertaining to private colleges and universities may be considered upon examining the income of the parents and the child’s needs and abilities.

If you or someone you know has questions regarding post-secondary educational obligations or need assistance in obtaining post-secondary educational support, consulting with a family law attorney regarding your options can be helpful. The experienced family law attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC can help with your parenting time needs. Give us a call at (317)-870-0019 to help you navigate your case.