Why am I paying child support and college expenses?

Question: I have two kids. I have custody of my daughter who is 19 and going to college full time, and my 12-year-old son lives with my ex.

I’m paying for everything for my daughter, including tuition and living expenses, and my ex is unwilling to help. And my child support just increased to 100% since my daughter is over 18 years old.

Can I get a child support reduction since I’m paying for my daughter’s college and living expenses?




Each state has different laws governing obligations for child support.  I do not practice in Texas so I can only comment based on general practices.  However, you should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in Texas to answer your questions applying the laws of Texas which may be different than what I refer to.  Cordell & Cordell has many attorneys licensed and located in Texas who would be happy to assist you.

In most states, the obligation for support of children terminates once the child reaches 18 years of age, or 19, so long as he or she is pursuing a high school diploma.  You should refer to your Support Order for any additional provisions you and your ex may have agreed to which would obligate either of you to continue to pay beyond this point.  If you continue to provide support even though you are not ordered to do so, your ex may not be required to contribute anything.

Most states have statutes which provide formulas for calculating child support based on the number of children who should be receiving support.  In your case, your son is the only child you and your ex are required to financially support.  In most states, the formula takes into consideration the placement schedule and earnings of the parties.  If your placement time with your son would increase, your support obligations may decrease.  In addition, some states allow for a deviation from the formulas based on a variety of factors.  You should consult with an attorney licensed in Texas to find out whether your support of your eldest child’s post-high school education warrants a deviation from the standard child support formula.  Your expenses may qualify for a substantial change in circumstances which may form the basis for a modification of support.


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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