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How Are Educational Expenses Split in a Divorce?

Any divorce proceeding has the potential to become a complicated legal matter. The process can be extra stressful for couples who have children.

As with most states, Michigan courts make rulings on child support obligations, spousal support agreements, child custody, and visitation rights.

Depending on your situation, Michigan courts have some power to enforce the payment of your child’s education as part of child support. Additionally, they can enforce a previously agreed-upon arrangement to pay for college expenses.

If you have children and you’re filing for divorce in Michigan, learn more about how educational expenses may affect your divorce proceedings.

Educational Expenses and Michigan Divorce

Under Michigan’s Family Support Act, child support ordered in a divorce can include any of the following provisions:

  • Child care costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Pregnancy-related costs
  • Education
  • Basic needs like food and clothing

The statute clarifies that “education” does not include college or university expenses once a child turns 18. In Michigan, courts can enforce the payment of educational costs only until the child reaches legal age or graduates from high school.

Who Pays for Education After a Divorce?

Courts will review all income sources, assets, and other financial factors to rule on which parent will pay which expenses or how the costs will be split.

Every divorce is unique, and the details will largely depend on your circumstances as a married couple, the number of children you have, your children’s age, your ability to contribute to their care, your career situation, and other factors.

College Expenses Are Not Required in Michigan Divorce

Michigan courts cannot order you or your spouse to pay for college expenses as part of a divorce settlement or as part of child support obligations.

However, should there be a legal agreement in place that dictates college expenses as part of a divorce settlement, the court has the power to enforce this agreement.

Even if your child is only an infant, the court will hold you or your spouse accountable for any agreements in your Judgment of Divorce. Failure to abide by the terms can result in serious legal consequences.

Education Fees and Divorce: The Bottom Line

While a child support provision will generally outline how you’ll share or pay education expenses, courts cannot legally enforce anything beyond your child’s high school graduation in Michigan.

If you choose to establish a college tuition provision in your divorce, you should include the following:

  • The amount of funding you’ll provide
  • Which expenses will be covered
  • What type of school or institution you will pay for
  • Any conditions that need to be met, such as GPA requirements

Establishing a college tuition provision is a great way to formalize your commitment to your child’s education expenses after a divorce.

Oakland County Divorce Attorney

If you’re thinking about divorce in Michigan, you’ll want to consult with an experienced family law attorney to answer any child support questions or concerns.

Gucciardo Family Law represents divorce matters throughout Oakland County. Call us for a case review.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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