Ask A Lawyer: When Finances Change, Am I Still Responsible For College Tuition?


In my papers it states that I am responsible for half of my child’s college expenses. My ex-wife has sole custody, control over medical, and education. I recently found out that my son has been accepted to two essentially equal colleges. One offered him a full-ride scholarship; one offered him nothing but a hefty tuition bill.  Do I have any say in this decision?

My wife has enjoyed sticking it to me at every opportunity and now that she is re-married to a millionaire it wouldn’t hurt them to pay half of this expensive college, but it would cripple me financially. How do I proceed?



Unless your jurisdiction’s laws or your Court order provides you with specific guidance on this issue, you will likely be paying for one-half of college either way.  If your orders relative to college expenses are a part of the orders related to child support, there is a chance that this provision may be modifiable based upon a change in your financial circumstances.  In most cases, however, college expenses fall into a separate category within an order or a marital settlement agreement and are not modifiable.    


Jill Best is the Litigation Manager for the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Overland Park, Kansas. She practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. She is licensed in the state of Missouri, the state of Kansas, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the U.S. District Court of Kansas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Ms. Best is a frequent guest on Dads Divorce Live and has presented at numerous family law seminars for the public and fellow attorneys.

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