Robert G. Smith, PLLC

If The Marital Settlement Agreement Does Not Explicitly State That The Obligation To Pay "College Expenses" Ends At Age 21, Or The Course Of Study Must Be Continuous, The Contract Obligation Continues.

Without a settlement agreement New York divorce lawyers all should know it is settled New York law that the parent's obligation to pay direct child support and eeducation expenses as New York child support ends when the child reaches age 21.   In Levenglick v. Levenglick,2016 NYSlip Op 04802, decided on June 16, 2016, the Appellate Division First Department of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that a marital settlement agreement which obligated the father to pay "the entire cost of the children's private school and higher education" obligated him to pay for his parties' daughter's college education past the age of 21. The appellate court held that there was no need to look beyond the four corners of the document to determine whether the parties intended for the obligation to end at age 21. As perhaps a drafting suggestion to the bar, the appellate court observed that there was no "articulated limitation based upon a particular age, number of consecutive years or course of study".  The court also determined that the "costs of higher education" does include "tuition and tutoring expenses, as opposed to, for example, costs associated with living off-campus, which would be excluded as not being under the purview of  "the costs of higher education."


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