Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Indiana Law on Expenses for child's education 3: What Are Educational Expenses?

Today, I am reviewing the Indiana Child Support Guidelines on Extraordinary Educational Expenses. I suggest using the search function at the top of the page for further search or browse the posts on child support for cases and more specific information.

This post follows up on my Indiana Law on Expenses for child's education and health care 2.

The following is from GUIDELINE 6. ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY from the Guidelines.

A determination of what constitutes educational expenses will be necessary and will generally include tuition, books, lab fees, supplies, student activity fees and the like. Room and board will also be included when the student resides on campus or otherwise is not with the custodial parent.
As I wrote in Indiana Law on Expenses for child's education and health care 2, what appears as an emphasis on post-secondary education (especially college) does not mean these Guidelines do not apply to other schools.
The impact of an award of post‑secondary educational expenses is substantial upon the custodial and non‑custodial parent and a reduction of the basic child support obligation attributable to the child in question will be required when the child resides on campus or otherwise is not with the custodial parent.

A consideration of the foregoing factors is addressed in the Worksheet on Post‑Secondary Education Expense which should be utilized in making a fair distribution of this expense.
A point worth making here is that educational expenses are split between the parents and the child, and not placed on the shoulders of only one parent. This paragraph makes this clear:
The court should require that a student maintain a certain minimum level of academic performance to remain eligible for parental assistance and should include such a provision in its order. The court should also consider requiring the student or the custodial parent provide the non-custodial parent with a copy of the child’s high school transcript and each semester or trimester post-secondary education grade report.


The court may wish to consider in the category of "Other" educational costs (Line B(5) of the Worksheet) such items as transportation, car insurance, clothing, entertainment and incidental expenses.
What about out-of-state colleges or private schools? While pre-Guidelines case law exists on the subject, the Guidelines give a brief overview on the subject:
The court may limit consideration of college expenses to the cost of state supported colleges and universities or otherwise may require that the income level of the family and the achievement level of the child be sufficient to justify the expense of private school.
If your divorce or paternity decree do not mention educational expenses for the child, then you need to file a petition to modify support. If you need a lawyer to handle a child support case for you, please give me a call.

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