Child Support is often feared and sometimes hated. Child support is seen as the state’s intervention into parent’s personal decisions on how much they should spend on their children. Where some parents would love to give a child mac n cheese each night for dinner, the state is requesting the parents fork a little more money out and perhaps provide some chicken with that easy mac. When clients learn that there is something that extends their obligation to pay child support past the age of 19 (sorry Kanye fans, I know you like to sing 18 years, but Alabama adds one more year) they can’t fathom that the state will force them to pay for 4 more years of support, so that their intelligent child will be able to go to college. Where most parents are proud to say their child is going to college, they aren’t too happy about being ordered to pay for that college especially if the child decides to major in something completely unique from their parent’s predicted future for him or her.
The Court doesn’t always order the support, but the court does have the authority to order Post Minority Support or College Expenses (yes, even if your child decides to go to your rival school for college). This was established in the case Ex Parte Bayliss and has helped children achieve their college degrees ever since. 550 So 2d 986 (Ala. 1989). The following factors are considered by the Court when deciding if post minority expenses will be Ordered:
- Financial Resources of the Parents & the Child
- Standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage were still intact
- Child’s relationship with his parents
- Child’s commitment to and aptitude for college (Is the child willing to go to college and will the child be able to succeed?)
- Responsiveness to parental advice and guidance
- Other relevant factors that the Court deems to be necessary
If you’re considered a divorce, look to those factors and see if college expenses might be a possibility. Is your child smart? Does she hit the books more than Alex on Modern Family? Can you do without your monthly trip to the salon so that your child can go further in life? Or, would your child be better suited for a different form of post minority activity such as something more hands on and less book nerdy? Is your contention with your ex forcing you into paying for college, or that your child decided to go to Auburn/Alabama and you graduated from the other great school?