In recent years, a New Jersey teen sued her divorced parents for tuition support payments and won. The case gained international news as it raised questions over whether parents —divorced or not — should be legally required to provide financial support for their children through college.

If you are separated from your spouse or anticipating a divorce, college may be far from your mind — especially if your children are young. However, as a college degree becomes increasingly standard for job entry and overall financial success, it’s an important topic to discuss with your ex.

Does child support require me to pay for tuition?

In some states, child support orders may require a parent to continue making child support payments for those who enter college straight out of high school and are unemployed. New Jersey law only requires that child support payments be made until the child turns 18, leaves school or become emancipated.

However, in 1982 the New Jersey supreme court ruled that attending university can be considered a necessity, meaning that financially capable parents may be ordered to continue child support payments.

If you and your ex-spouse agree that you would like to support your child if he or she attends college, incorporate specific provisions into the child support agreement to save for college expenses.

Appointing one another with separate financial responsibilities to your child can be challenging. You may choose a yearly amount to save or monthly payments. Talking to a lawyer can help you understand what tuition plans might make the most sense after your property has been divided. An attorney can also help you with other details of your child custody arrangement.