Child support could be reduced when child goes off to college

A divorced father could be entitled to reduce the amount of his child support to reflect his ex-wife’s lower expenses when the children spend most of the year away at college, a New Jersey appeals court recently decided.

The couple had two children. The parents agreed to joint custody, but the children lived mainly with the mother. The parents also agreed that the father would pay child support while sharing the cost of college.

After both children went off to college, the father asked the court reduce his support obligation. And the court agreed that a child going to college counts as a change in circumstances that could justify a reduction of child support payments.

However, the court said it all depends on the specific circumstances, since other expenses might increase as the cost of room and board at home decreases.

And the court said that in many cases, it might be more appropriate for a parent to begin making direct payments to the student for some of his or her support needs, rather than paying the other parent.

As with most things, the law on this issue varies from state to state and from case to case.