With the rise in college tuition expenses and student loan debt, many parents have discussed their ability and desire to pay for the college expenses of emancipated children. However, in the context of a Minnesota Divorce or Child Support action, it is important to note that contributing toward these expenses is not a requirement under the law.
Under Minnesota law, a child is “emancipated” once he/she turns eighteen (18) years old and graduates from high school. Upon emancipation, the financial obligations each parent has to the child under the law expire. For example, child support typically does not extend past the child’s emancipation.
Because of these general principles, Judges do not require parents to help pay for children’s college tuition or expenses.
However, many parents do wish to include language that creates a financial responsibility for emancipated children. Depending upon your specific financial circumstances and discussions you and your spouse may have had during your marriage, it may make sense for your agreement to contain a provision that contemplates one or both parents contributing to college expenses for emancipated children.
Bottom line, the Court will not force you/your spouse to pay for the college expenses of emancipated children, but you and the other parent can agree to create such a financial obligation.