No Child Support for College Students
According to the Associated Press, on Oct. 4 the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that non-custodial parents should no longer be legally required to help pay for their child's college expenses.
Child support is always a sensitive subject, for those that receive some that they deem not enough as well as the parent that's paying what he/she sees as too much. Let's face it, child support conversations rarely go well. At first, this news sounded like one of the most absurd things I'd ever heard. I saw it as a slap in the face of any custodial parent that intends to send his/her child to college, almost as if he/she is being punished for instilling the desire to be better. But the more I thought about it, my opinion changed a bit.
For starters, I took my own personal experience into count. I'd always worked since the age of 16. I started college at 17 with a full academic scholarship. Therefore, my mom didn't have to come out of her pocket with anything. In addition, I always had a job even when I carried a 21-hour course load. I didn't want my mother to have to provide for me. She still brought me care packages every now and then, but I worked for my own money to hang out with my friends, travel, shop, etc. The grants I'd received in addition to my scholarships covered my room and board, meal plan, etc. So, all of my basic necessities were covered. Everything else I wanted to do was a luxury that I gave myself. If my mom didn't have to pay for any of this, why should my dad have had to send her any money towards it?
In many instances, an 18-year-old is considered an adult. If that adult gets into trouble, the parents don't suffer the consequences. The adult does. If the adult chooses to get married, the parents' consent is not needed. If the adult takes part in the conception of a child, his/her parents have no legal responsibility to provide for the grandchild. So, why are parents held financially responsible for an adult's education?
A friend of mine told me that by the time his daughter is 18, he will have paid over $100,000 towards her support. My argument was that child support is calculated considering the amount of each parent's ability to contribute and how much of each parent's income would go towards the child's needs IF the parents were in the same household. Basically, it's a percentage of household income divided by each parent's expected amount of contribution towards that amount.
He said that he has no problem paying child support. He just doesn't agree with what his daughter's mother does with the money and says she should be saving at least $100 per month, considering the fact that she has a well-paying job in a poverty-stricken area where the cost of living is low, she has no mortgage or rent, and buys a new car every other year. In his case, I agree that more financial planning COULD be done for the sake of the child's future. But when it comes to the issue as a whole, I think that if parents are going to be financially responsible for a child's education, that responsibility should fall on BOTH parents, not just the custodial one. What are your thoughts?