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Friday, November 14, 2014

22 Is the New 18

The media has lit up about a New Jersey court’s decision to order the divorced parents to pay $16,000 per year for the college education at Temple of their estranged daughter, Caitlyn Ricci.  To family lawyers, this is not a surprising result.  I have written about the equal protection and other issues inherent to treating married parents (who are never required to pay for their kids’ college education) differently from unmarried or divorced parents (who may be required to pay for their kids’ college education), but the minority of states with postsecondary educational support laws have pointed to findings that divorced and nonmarital parents are far less likely to pay for college.  Lawmakers and courts in these states have seized the opportunity to level the field by requiring unmarried parents to be liable for college support.  Perhaps in these states, the cost-of-raising-a-child estimates should be revised from low six figures to something a bit higher to avoid a shock to parents—more of whom are implicated as the numbers of divorces and out-of-wedlock births continue to climb.       

Posted by Margaret Ryznar on November 14, 2014 at 07:09 PM | Permalink


Yes, that is definitely an interesting proposal--if one gets past the proposal that a parent should pay for an adult child's college education (which many states don't get past).

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Nov 16, 2014 3:52:34 PM

I understand the freerider problems inherent in paying for college after divorce (if one spouse is pretty sure the other can pay, he has no incentive to do so himself), but I've always wondered if maybe a better solution is to require the freeriding spouse (usually the noncustodial one) to match the payment by the other one. You could even require him to pay a multiple of that amount if you're worried about the paying spouse's income.

So if Jane and John get divorced, Jane gets custody, and we're worried about John being a deadbeat when it comes time for Judy to go to college, require John to pay double what Jane actually pays for college.

Posted by: Curious | Nov 15, 2014 10:57:15 AM

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