Can one parent be required to pay college tuition for an adult child?

As college tuition expenses and student loan debt continues to grow, parents may want to help their adult, or emancipated, children pay for their education.  While the parents’ intent is admirable, a child is emancipated once that child turns 18 years old and graduates high school.  Minnesota law requires in most instances that parents no longer pay child support or have any other financial obligation to the adult child.

Although a child is technically an adult, parents often financially help their children by paying for a cell phone, paying rent for a period of time or giving cash each month for various expenses.  The intention is to help reduce the financial strain because college tuition and student debt loads seem to continually grow.

The bottom line is Minnesota law cannot and will not force parents to pay for the college tuition or costs for adult children.  Minnesota law does not prevent parents from reaching a mutual written agreement to share in these expenses.  They can voluntarily do so if they wish.  A judge will enforce any written voluntary agreements to pay college or student loan debts for adult children.  Parents wanting to formulate a written agreement such as this need to be mindful of putting the details of how much each parent is going to pay, which expenses they will pay and over what period of time the expenses are to be paid in order to avoid fighting over these terms later on.

Contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle at (218) 722-2655 to schedule a consultation to discuss tuition or student loan agreements for adult children.

Jessica Sterle