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Michigan Family Law Blog

Divorce in Michigan and Payment of College for the Kids

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Dec 09, 2016 | 0 Comments

I am a divorce lawyer in Oakland County, Michigan.  I recently met with a woman from Rochester Hills, Michigan who was contemplating a divorce from her husband.  One question she had was whether a court would order her husband to pay for their child's college education because he previously promised that he would pay for her education.

Generally, the power of a divorce court is limited to determining the spouse's rights and obligations to the exclusion of third parties.  This typically means that the court will not enforce a promise from a parent to a child such as a promise to pay for college or purchase the child a car.  However, if the person agrees to it in a consent judgment of divorce, then the court will order the person to make the payments and it is binding.  Therefore, if one is interested in including a clause such as that in the divorce judgment, then it will require negotiation to have it  included.  However, there are many pitfalls to making a legal agreement to be bound to pay for college in the future and many attorneys are against advising clients to commit to a binding legal agreement to do so.

Another way to address the issue, which may help depending on the ages of the children, would be to be agree to a monthly payment into a college fund that could be modified if it became a financial hardship on one of the parties to continue to make the payments.  There are many other possible ways that we can take to help work out a solution that will work for the parties and the children even if the other spouse will not commit to pay for the child's education.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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