Child Support After Childhood

Child Support After Childhood: The Importance of Working With your Ex to Plan for Your Child’s Future After High School

In Pennsylvania, a parent’s obligation to pay child support ceases once the child turns 18 and/or completes high school. Whereas states like New Jersey and New York have Child Support laws that can require parents to continue support after the age of majority, Pennsylvania case law lands sternly on the other side of the fence.

This issue becomes particularly relevant in a job market where college degrees have become the norm, and the cost associated with obtaining that degree can be debilitating student loan debt. Not saving for your child’s college could leave him or her holding the bag after getting their B.A. For that reason, more and more post-separation agreements these days are incorporating language whereby both spouses agree to provide a certain amount of support to their children to go toward living expenses and education after the age of 18. As is the case with most out-of-court agreements, parties have the advantage of customizing the duration, amount, and regularity of child support payments beyond age 18.

Another idea that should be considered by divorcing spouses with young children is an agreement to contribute to a tax-advantaged 529 College Savings Plan. Child support obligations are geared toward affording childcare, health care, groceries, and other monthly expenses. However child support obligations do not contemplate each parent’s obligation to plan for their children’s future. By agreeing to contribute a certain monthly amount or annual percentage of income, divorced spouses can hold one another responsible for making regular contributions to the children’s future.

Regardless of how contentious a divorce gets, the children should never suffer. If you and your ex-spouse have not had a conversation about saving for your children’s future, a post-separation agreement will hold both parties responsible for setting money aside for secondary education. Think of it as a way for you to pick up where the Pennsylvania Child Support laws have left off.


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About the author

About Christopher Casserly

Chris joined the firm in 2013 after graduating from Villanova University School of Law. While at Villanova Chris focused on Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution. In addition, he participated in the Villanova Law Civil Justice Clinic where he advocated for indigent clients facing custody issues. Prior to attending law school, Chris received his B.A. from Providence College where he studied English and French. Chris is a Supervising Attorney and Team Leader at LaMonaca Law. Chris was named a “Top Lawyer” in Family Law by Main Line Today in 2015 and 2017, as well as a Best Lawyer in the area of Adoption in the Delaware County Daily Times. He is a member of the American Bar Association Family Law Section, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Delaware County Bar Association, where he serves as chair of the Family Law Section’s Custody Committee. When he’s not advocating for his clients, Chris enjoys cooking, all things Seinfeld-related, and being at the shore with his family and their dog, Molly.