What Effect Does Children’s College Costs Have On Alimony in Arizona?
Agreement to Pay Children’s College Expenses
The Court does not have the authority to order either spouse to pay the expenses for a child to attend college after the child has turned eighteen (18) years old unless the parties agree in writing to do so. If the parties agree to contribute to their child’s college expenses, the court can enforce that agreement as a contract between the parties.
The reason the court does not have the authority to order a parent to contribute to a child’s college expenses is that the legislature has not authorized a judge to order a parent to contribute to a child’s college expenses. The Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of Weaver v. Weaver ruled that a court only has such authority conveyed upon it by statute.
Since there is no statute that permits a court to order a parent to contribute to a child’s college expenses, the court does not have the authority to do so.
Effect of Child’s College Expenses on Alimony
However, the Court may consider whether a spouse is willing to contribute to his or her children’s college expenses when awarding alimony in Arizona. The legislature listed several factors a judge must consider when determining how much alimony to award in a case. One of those factors was the parents’ willingness to contribute to his or her children’s college expenses.
Many people neglect to address this issue when testifying at trial, so it is important to ensure questions are asked regarding each parent’s intentions concerning paying for future college expenses when dealing with the issue of alimony in Arizona.
If the parent testifies that he or she will not enter into a binding agreement to pay some of the children’s college expenses, you or your attorney could obtain testimony from the spouse willing to contribute to those expenses to impact the amount of alimony awarded by the court.
For example, if the spouse who is seeking alimony testified that he or she will not enter into an agreement to contribute to the children’s college expenses the spouse who is ordered to pay spousal maintenance may argue his spouse should receive a lower alimony award because the spouse paying alimony will need to save for the children’s college education which he or she will pay without assistance from the other parent.
On the other hand, if the parent who will not enter into an agreement to contribute to the children’s college expenses is the spouse who will be ordered to pay alimony then the spouse receiving alimony can argue he or she should receive a larger award of alimony because he or she will have to pay those expenses without the financial assistance of the spouse who is paying alimony.
Contact Our Scottsdale Arizona Alimony Attorneys
Contact us today or call us at (480)305-8300 to schedule your consultation with one of our Scottsdale Arizona Spousal Maintenance Attorneys today regarding any questions you have regarding Arizona spousal maintenance laws or any other family law matter.
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Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about the effect of children’s college costs on alimony in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about alimony laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.