College Expenses: What Constitutes Room and Board?

Noblesville Indiana Divorce LawyerQuestion:

My divorce decree states I am to provide “room and board for college no matter where the child resides.”

Since my child resided at her mother’s house throughout college, my ex-wife is requesting payment even though our child has already graduated college.

Our child actually paid for a lot of her own living expenses while at home, and I periodically paid for car insurance, gas, etc., so I was contributing something, if not technically “room and board.”

Can my ex-wife really request payment for room and board after our child has already graduated?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Indiana divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Different states define college expenses and “room and board” differently.

Where I practice, the courts have stated that there is some cost associated with the child living at home, although it is likely not the same as the full cost of living at the school.

The court will look to the actual costs of the child living at home and the child’s expenses in determining what to award for educational support and room and board.

Since your decree specifically provides for room and board to be included in college expenses, your ex may be able to go back to court and request that you be held in contempt for not contributing to room and board, although the court may hear evidence as to what additional expenses your ex incurred as a result of your child living there and determine what an appropriate amount for room and board would be.

You will likely be able to respond to your ex’s claims and present your own evidence showing what contributions you made to your child that may be considered payment for room and board. The judge will likely have discretion as to whether to grant the request for back payments and in what amount.

Related Article:

Handling College Expenses

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Noblesville, Indiana Divorce Lawyer Sara Pitcher, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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