As with everything in Family Court, what you don’t know can hurt you.
This is especially true when it comes to providing the Court with the necessary documents to support your position. While there are many instances where the Court will give some leeway to a person representing themselves, this is not necessarily the case when there is a request for the other parent to contribute towards college expenses. There are certain documents that the Court, and the other party, need to review ahead of time to make an appropriate, and fair, decision.
What’s worse than showing up to Court with a folder full of documents?
Showing up with no documents in support of your request for college contribution!
Whether you are requesting, or opposing, an Order requiring contribution towards college expenses, it’s important to know what documents must be provided to support the request for contribution. So here goes!
1. A Current Tuition Statement
This importance of this document is two-fold.
First, if shows proof of enrollment to the Court. You’d be surprised how many people file a motion seeking college contribution but fail to provide proof that the child is even in school. This is accomplished by providing a tuition statement. This is a document that should be on school letterhead and not simply a blank document that is typed up and signed by an unidentified person (again, you’d be surprised some of the questionable documents presented to the Court in support of a request for college contribution).
Second, this document provides the Court with a breakdown of the child’s expenses. It lists each expense, including, but not limited to, tuition, room/board, activity fees, etc.
Important note: For college contribution purposes, a parent could be ordered to contribute if that child is attending part-time. However, for child support purposes (i.e. for child support for that child to continue), that child must be attending college full-time. Part-time does not satisfy the legal requirements for continuing child support.
2. A Financial Aid Statement
This document will show all financial aid that was awarded. The important thing about this document is that it shows not only what was accepted, but also what was declined. Remember, in this week’s blog (which can be found here), I told you that typically a Court will require a child to accept all financial aid offered, including grants, loans, etc. So this financial aid statement is crucial to a request for college contribution.
3. Proof Of Each Parent’s Income & Expenses
Proof of the parent’s income is presented by documents such as your 3 most recent paystubs / paychecks, prior year’s tax return, prior year’s W-2, 1099 or any other proof of income.
Proof of the parent’s expenses is presented to the Court by a detailed, financial statement called a Case Information Statement. It is required for all requests, or oppositions to a request, for college contribution. That document can be found here. It is important to complete that as fully and accurately as possible.
In addition to these documents, there are 2 more that I highly recommend taking with you to court. So, I’ve compiled a list of all 5 documents together in a free guide.
Want all 5 recommended documents in an easy to refer to guide to take with you to Court? Download your free copy here!
This list is not exhaustive of every document that may apply in every case. But if you are seeking, or opposing a request for, college contribution, these are documents that must be provided and if not, there is a good chance that the Court will deny the motion and that parent will have to try again.
Planning on filing a motion for college contribution or in the process of opposing one? Let’s schedule a consultation! Call me at 609-892-8773.