College Costs, a Commentary by Kenneth A. White, Esq.

Kenneth A. White, Esq., certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a matrimonial attorney provides his commentary on the current state of the law involving College Expenses.  Specifically, Mr. White, in his article published in the New Jersey Family Lawyer Vol. 38, No. 1 (October 2017), discusses whether or not a constitutional challenge should be made to the current law, which requires parents in non-intact families to contribute to their children’s college tuition and expenses.  He raises this concern in light of the fact that the legal system does not involve itself in the private lives of intact families and whether or not they contribute to their children’s college costs.

In the article, Mr. White suggests that there are “sound arguments against requiring divorced or unmarried parents to contribute to their children’s college expenses.”  The article goes on to discuss the potential “unfair treatment of married versus divorced or unmarried parents with respect to college contributions” and how that may violate the “equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article One, Paragraph One, of the New Jersey Constitution.”

Even if the state of the law does not evolve or is not challenged as Mr. White proposes in his article, he goes on to suggest that the trial courts hearing applications of litigants for contribution towards college expenses, must remember that a parent’s financial ability to pay and contribute to the higher education of children must be considered.  Moreover, he suggests that “if there is no constitutional violation, courts should be more selective when compelling parents to contribute to their child’s college education expenses.”

 

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