A child needs the emotional and financial support of his parents. Although you cannot force a parent to support the child emotionally, strict laws require parents to provide financial support through monthly child support payments. In many cases, the child support obligation ends when the child is emancipated. A child is declared a legal adult at 18 years of age and once he graduates high school or earns the equivalency, such as a GED. As a custodial parent, you may feel the burden on paying for college. In some cases, you can request to extend child support.
Check your child support order or divorce decree. As of 2011, 17 states include college payments as part of child support plans. An additional four states refer to "educational expenses" in the support plans. Read over your orders to determine if support for a college student is addressed.
Know state laws. The laws vary from state to state. For example, in Connecticut, there is an automatic cap on child support payments towards college tuition, and the child is limited to in-state tuition costs. If the child is accepted into an out-of-state college, the noncustodial parent is only required to pay a portion of tuition based on what it would be if enrolled in a local college.
File a motion to extend child support. Go to your local courthouse to obtain the proper paperwork. It is important to file before the child support order is no longer valid. You must include basic personal information for both parents and the child. Include the original case number. State the reason you are requesting an extension. The judge will review your request and make a decision based both parents' ability to pay for college tuition.
Review your child support case to see if you are owed back child support. When a custodial parent is owed child support, the payments will continue to be withheld from the noncustodial parent's wages. This will continue until the balance owed is paid.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.