Are Parents Required to Pay Child Support for College?

In many states across the United States, eighteen (18) is the age of majority. When it comes to child support, this usually means that a non-custodial parent is no longer obligated to pay child support. Maryland law says otherwise.  A Maryland equity court has jurisdiction over the support of a child.

Article 1, Section § 24 of the Annotated Code of Maryland establishes that the age of majority in this State is 18. Being 18 in Maryland does not mean that child support ends. Under Maryland law, a person who is age 18 and is enrolled in secondary school is considered a minor and has the right to receive support from both parents until the first of the following events occurs:

  • the person dies;
  • the person marries;
  • the person is emancipated;
  • the person graduates from or is no longer enrolled in secondary school; or
  • the person turns 19.

A parent may become contractually obligated to support their child for a longer period of time. If the parents agree to support a child throughout college or beyond age, 19 and the parties consent to have the agreement incorporated or merged into a judgment, the court can enforce such an obligation. See Corry v. O’Neill, 105 Md. App. 112 (1995).

For parents who are considering divorce, which parent will pay for college is often a highly negotiated item in a divorce settlement. If a parent has to pay child support and the child is enrolled in college, then under Maryland law, he or she will have to pay child support until the child turns 19 instead of the typical age of majority –eighteen (18).

Child Support for Postsecondary Education in Other States

Maryland is not the only state to require parents to provide child support for postsecondary education. According to a survey of states completed by the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2014, state laws vary regarding the duty of parents to provide support for postsecondary education expenses.

At least nine states: Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington specifically authorize a court to require parents to provide support for postsecondary education expenses.

Some states have laws that require child support to continue if a child is enrolled in college or higher education. Other states, including Maryland, authorize courts to enforce parental agreements to pay for college expenses beyond the age of majority.

Find an Attorney for Child Support in Baltimore, Maryland

Paying for child support can take a serious toll and so can supporting a child on your own. Speak to an experienced family law attorney about paying for child support. If you and your spouse are considering divorce and you both are concerned with which parent will pay for a child’s college expenses, then allow an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate negotiating college expenses in a child support settlement.

Our firm has two offices, conveniently located in Arbutus and Catonsville. Contact James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates to revisit your child support agreement in light of House Bill 955 or for more information about how an experienced family law attorney can help you.

The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates take cases in Arbutus, Maryland, and in the surrounding cities of Baltimore, Westminster, Elliot City, and Frederick, Maryland.

Call 443-709-9999 now for a free consultation.