In a case before for the New Jersey Family Court in Morris County and which is gaining a tremendous amount of media attention a high school senior is suing her parents seeking a contribution towards college expenses. This case raises the question as to whether or not parents in New Jersey have an obligation to contribute towards the college expenses of their children. Most often this issue arises within the context of A divorce. In that context New Jersey law is rather clear that divorced or divorcing parents may be held responsible for some portion of the college expenses of their children. There are many factors to consider and if you find yourself in this situation you should consult with a skilled divorce attorney immediately if you have not already done so.
The case currently before the court is unique in that the parents are not divorced. The marriage remains intact and it is becoming increasingly clear that the relationship between the parents and their child is deteriorating day by day. It is the purpose of this post to comment or speculate on the reasons for the breakdown of the relationship. However it is becoming increasingly tragic situation. In order for the student to prevail the judge will have to extend the existing body of case law to this factual situation and will also have to determine that the child is not emancipated. In my opinion and as additional facts, circumstances, and revelations come to the surface it is questionable as to whether or not this student is emancipated. If she is deemed to be emancipated her parents will have no further financial responsibility for her.
This is a case that begs for the involvement of counselors and therapists rather then the court. However this case is ultimately resolved it is hoped the family can repair their relationships and move forward. Apart from that, the impact on New Jersey family law remains to be seen.