Per my divorce decree, I am to pay financial support directly to my ex-wife that is to be used to be for our child’s college tuition.
However, my daughter has been in college for four years with no sign of graduating any time soon.
How much longer am I responsible for the financial support that I am supposed to pay to my ex-wife to cover my kid’s college expenses? Are these payments considered child support since they are supporting my child or alimony since the money is paid directly to my ex?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Illinois divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
The answer to your question depends on the specific language in your court orders, and whether the support you are paying is child support or spousal maintenance.
Where I practice, child support continues until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. This is referred to as the age of emancipation.
If the original order in your case required you to pay child support, then your support would terminate when the child turned 18 or graduated from high school.
However, child support does not automatically terminate. You still need to enter a termination order with the court, and send an amended Notice to Withhold Income for Support to your employer, if your support payments were directly deducted from your paycheck.
Some states’ divorce laws also allow the court to order payment of post-high school educational expenses for a child. Typically, this type of payment begins after the parent’s original child support obligation has terminated.
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However, it is possible that the court ordered you to pay tuition and expenses, as well as a continued payment to your ex-wife even though your child has graduated from high school.
If the additional payment to your ex-wife is an award of spousal maintenance, then the terms of your original order will also dictate when this payment terminates. A payment of spousal support does not terminate when a child reaches a certain age.
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 schedule an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Belleville Divorce Lawyer Erin Brockhoff, please contact Cordell & Cordell.