What you need to know about educational support orders

You may not be ready to think about your child’s post-high school education yet, but if you are going through a divorce in Connecticut, now is the time.

The state statutes include Section 46b-56c, which details how you can make sure the other parent contributes financially through an educational support order.

School options

The law allows for college, a private occupational school or vocational instruction. You and the other parent must agree on which institution your child will attend, but it must be in line with your child’s vocational goals. If you cannot come to an agreement, the judge may resolve the matter.

Length of support

The order may cover as many as four years. However, the order for support ends when your child turns 23, so you will want him or her to begin higher education immediately after high school graduation, if possible.

Type of support

You may apply the support to “any necessary educational expense,” such as room and board, tuition, fees and books. The cost of these cannot exceed in-state, full-time student expenses at The University of Connecticut. The order may also cover medical insurance.

In the order, the judge details how the other parent must pay the support. It may come to you so that you can forward it to the school, or it may go directly to the school. If the judge deems it necessary, he or she may choose some other option.

Your child’s responsibilities

Your child must maintain at least half of the requirements for full-time enrollment at the particular institution and must remain in good academic standing. He or she must make all academic records available to you and the other parent, as well.

You may also want to include other methods of paying for college, such as contributing to a 529 plan. The sooner you begin planning for your child’s education, the more help you may be able to get from the other parent.