I have written previously about the expiration of a child support order and have discussed that the order doesn't necessarily expire when the child turns 18 years of age. The recent case involving a New Jersey teenager suing her parents for support (among other things) casts a new light on the issue of parents providing support to their child. The Judge in the case denied the teen's request for immediate support in the amount of $650 per month but scheduled a hearing for April in which he will consider evidence and testimony to determine whether a parent is responsible for providing support to his or her 18 year old daughter - who they had previously kicked out of the house for failure to follow the rules.
In a previous blog, I addressed the circumstance in which a parent is responsible for providing support to a child that has graduated from high school and attained the age of majority if the child is too feeble physically or mentally to support himself. This is obviously not at issue in the New Jersey case. However, a second exception to the general rule might come into play if the case were heard in Pennsylvania. The second exception states that a court may order one or both parents who are separated, divorced, unmarried or otherwise subject to an existing support obligation to provide equitably for educational costs of their child regardless of whether the child has reached 18 years of age. The rule additionally states that the obligation can extend to postsecondary education. However, any award for postsecondary educational costs may be entered only after he child has made reasonable efforts to apply for scholarships, grants and work-study assistance.
Considering the current cost of postsecondary education, if you are a payor or recipient of support, this clause could have a significant impact on your financial future. Consider contacting an experienced family law attorney to discuss the options available to you under Pennsylvania law.