Every year thousands of Michigan children will start college for the first time and college support is an agreement to provide support for college expenses. Unlike child support which typically ends when a child turns 18 and graduates high school, college support continues after graduation from high school (and after a child turns 18).
There is no legal obligation to provide college support in Michigan.
The Michigan Child Custody Act of 1970 authorizes a court to award custody of a child but does not provide a basis for college support. A court cannot order a party to pay college support.
College support is a moral obligation – not a legal obligation.
College support is a moral obligation. College support becomes a legal obligation only if the agreement to contribute is made part of the divorce or custody decree.
If the parties reach an agreement and the agreement is placed into a Judgment of Divorce or Custody, the agreement is enforceable under Michigan law. See: Ovaitt v. Ovaitt, 43 Mich. App. 628 (1972). Many parents make the mistake of agreeing to pay college support only to have life’s circumstances change. Therefore, caution should be exercised before including college support in a Judgment. If you agree to pay college support, the agreement is typically considered by the courts as a property award and not modifiable.
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By: Daniel Findling