Do I Have to Pay Child Support in Addition to College Room & Board?

By Gordon, Tepper, DeCoursey on August 19, 2019

To some extent, the answer to this question depends on where you live. The Second Department (which is the greater New York City metropolitan area, less New York and Bronx counties) is more likely to follow the guidance provided in Rohrs v. Rohrs, 297 A.D.2d, 317, 746 N.Y.S2d 305 (2002), which calls for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in child support for amounts contributed to room and board while at college. However, the Third and Fourth Departments take a more flexible approach. Most recently, the Fourth Department ruled, in Wheeler v. Wheeler, that “a credit against child support for college expenses is not mandatory but depends on the facts and circumstances in the particular case, taking into account the needs of the custodial parent to maintain a household and provide certain necessaries.” In that decision, the court found that no credit was warranted because the custodial parent had the ongoing expense of maintaining the household for the daughter during school breaks. The Third Department’s decision in Paro v. Paro, 215 A.D.2d 965 (1995), reflects the same approach.

If you have a separation agreement from your divorce that addresses college expenses, the terms of that agreement may be dictate your obligations. If you are negotiating a separation agreement, you may wish to include specific language to cover the payment of college expenses. If you already have an agreement, you may wish to consult an attorney to discuss your obligations.

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