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Father ordered to include college bills in child support

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Texans who have child support concerns may be interested in a recent out-of-state court ruling that required a father to foot the entire bill for his child's college education. The case highlights what many people go through when a non-custodial parent's income increases significantly after a child support order is made. The couple involved was divorced in 1993, and at that time, the father's child support payments were set at $175 per week for two children.

At the time of the separation, the man was only making an annual income of $29,000. By 2008, his income had drastically increased to approximately $250,000 per year, although the child support for the two children stayed the same. The woman's income remained below $40,000 per year the entire time.

In 2006, the son elected to attend college, and his father agreed via email to help assist his son with expenses and also to repay his student loans. However, in the same message, the father also wrote that he was reducing the child support payments for his other son to only $100 a week. Still, the father apparently didn't fulfill his promise to the son who was in college, and the ex-wife sued.

Initially, a South Carolina family court sided with the ex-husband and said he was not required to pay college costs for his children. In addition, the family court reduced the woman's child support and also refused to make the man pay for her attorney costs. Fortunately for the woman, the state Supreme Court heard the case and reversed the family court's previous rulings. The mother in the case saw the decision as a victory for all children of divorced parents throughout South Carolina.

This story took place outside of Texas, but readers in the El Paso area certainly have related concerns. Custodial and non-custodial parents alike will want to explore all of their options regarding child support law in Texas. Doing so can help ensure that the best interests of the child -- both for education and health -- remain a top priority.

Source: Aiken Standard, "Divorced parents in S.C. may have to pay for college," Jeffrey Collins, March 11, 2012

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