Paying child support while the child is in college

mens divorce lawyer William BackerQuestion:

According to my husband’s divorce decree, he is to pay child support as long as his daughter is in college.

His daughter is now in college, and it has come to our attention that the child support is not going to support the expenses of the child.

Does he have any recourse?


Your husband’s obligation to make child support payments is as set forth in the decree, and will terminate according to its terms. If the decree states that he is to pay child support as long as she is in college, his obligation will terminate when she is no longer in college.

A typical divorce decree will specifically state that the child support obligation shall continue until the child reaches age 21 or completes her college education (whichever is first) provided that the child is enrolled for a minimum number of credit hours each term and the parent paying child support is entitled to proof of enrollment for each upcoming term and proof of completed courses for each term.  You should refer to your husband’s decree if it is different than this.

According to Missouri law, your husband’s obligation to make child support payments may also terminate if the child:

(1) Dies;

(2) Marries;

(3) Enters active duty in the military;  or

(4) Becomes self-supporting, provided that the mother has relinquished the child from parental control by express or implied consent

Note: Missouri law also addresses other situations in which the child is physically and/or mentally incapacitated, which does not seem to be applicable to the facts in your question.

You should consult with an attorney that specializes in domestic litigation and is licensed to practice in your state. Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers in 17 states.


William F. Backer is an Associate Attorney in the Arnold, Missouri office of Cordell & Cordell where he practices domestic relations exclusively. Mr. Backer is licensed in the State of Missouri. Mr. Backer received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with emphasis in Accounting, from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1999.

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