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South Carolina Supreme Court holds that requiring parents subject to child support order, but not other parents, to contribute to their children’s college expenses violates equal protection

N.B.: On March 7, 2012, in McLeod v. Starnesthe South Carolina Supreme Court overruled Webb v. Sowell and the South Carolina Family Courts can again order unmarried or divorced parents to contribute college support for their children.  See A switch in justices revives previous South Carolina law on college support

The April 19, 2010 Supreme Court decision in Webb v. Sowell, 387 S.C. 328, 692 S.E.2d 543 (2010), was long anticipated: it was argued in January 2009 and my blog mentioned the appeal in September, 2009.  The result is a complete surprise: South Carolina joins a handful of states that have found requirements that some, but not all, parents be subject to court-ordered college expense obligations for their adult children to be unconstitutional.

Webb involved a divorced father’s challenge to South Carolina law that allows the family courts to order some parents to be subject to college support obligations.  South Carolina’s Supreme Court first established this obligation in the case of Risinger v. Risinger, 273 S.C. 36, 253 S.E.2d 652 (1979) which interpreted the “exceptional circumstances” language in a precursor statute to S.C. Code Ann. § 63-3-530(A)(17) to authorize such support obligations.  The applicable statute subsection grants the family court authority:

(17)  To make all orders for support run until further order of the court, except that orders for child support run until the child is eighteen years of age or until the child is married or becomes self-supporting, as determined by the court, whichever occurs first; or without further order, past the age of eighteen years if the child is enrolled and still attending high school, not to exceed high school graduation or the end of the school year after the child reaches nineteen years of age, whichever is later; or in accordance with a preexisting agreement or order to provide for child support past the age of eighteen years; or in the discretion of the court, to provide for child support past age eighteen where there are physical or mental disabilities of the child or other exceptional circumstances that warrant the continuation of child support beyond age eighteen for as long as the physical or mental disabilities or exceptional circumstances continue.

Risinger and subsequent cases had interpreted the “exceptional circumstances” language to allow a family court to order college support if the child at issue was not from an intact family.  Since children from intact marriages weren’t subject to such support orders, the effect of these cases was to allow the court to order college support when an adult child’s parents were never married, or were separated or divorced, but did not allow the court to order college support when an adult child’s parents were still in an intact marriage.

Mr. Webb brought an equal protection challenge to this disparate treatment arguing that the statute and case law improperly treated divorced and non-divorced parents differently when it came to college support obligations for their children. At the outset of the hearing on the mother’s request that he contribute expenses for their son’s college, he moved to dismiss her claim based on the Equal Protection clause of the federal and state constitutions.  In an order denying Mr. Webb’s motion, the family court observed:

While the Court has reviewed the motion with some interest and follows the logic proposed by the Plaintiff, the Court is bound by the case of Risinger v. Risinger and its progeny and therefore determines that until there is further ruling by either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, it is appropriate in this instance to require the Plaintiff to contribute to the support of his son’s college education.  Therefore, the Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss on the constitutional grounds is denied.

In a 3-2 decision, the Supreme Court reversed, finding that Risinger was wrongly decided and that S.C. Code Ann. § 63-3-530(A)(17), as interpreted, is unconstitutional.  In so ruling, the Supreme Court decided that the constitutionally suspect class was “those parents subject to a child support order at the time of the child’s emancipation.” The majority could “discern no rational basis for the varied treatment of the class as compared to those parents who are not subject to such an order.  We therefore find that the statute, as interpreted by Risinger, fails the rational basis test and thus, does not meet the constitutional requirements of Equal Protection.”

This equal protection argument is slightly different than ones I have seen in previous states and the one Mr. Webb actually argued in the family court.  Those arguments focused on the distinction between parents of a college-aged child who were still in intact marriages to the child’s other parent and other such parents of college-aged children.  Here, due to the peculiarities of § 63-3-530(A)(17), the Supreme Court raised a distinction between parents who were subject to a court-ordered child support obligation when their child emancipated and those who weren’t.

I have known since I began practicing family law in 1993 that there was a potential equal protection challenge to Risinger, as a few other states had found similar requirements that unmarried parents contribute to college expenses to be unconstitutional.  However, never in my practice have I had a parent ordered to pay college support so I never had to bring such a challenge.  Further, given how few states (in my admittedly-limited research) found such requirements violated equal protection, I doubted such a challenge could succeed in South Carolina.  Kudos to Mr. Webb’s attorneys, Joe Wayne Underwood and Regina Hollins Lewis, for conceiving and prevailing on their challenge.

The Webb decision notes that its decision is confined only to post-secondary education support.  It appears the family court still has authority “to provide for child support past age eighteen where there are physical or mental disabilities of the child,” as it did in Riggs v. Riggs, 353 S.C. 230, 236, 578 S.E.2d 3, 6 (2003).  Further court-approved agreements of parents to provide for their children’s post-secondary education support appear to remain enforceable.

Finally, I note the Supreme Court’s 3-2 decision was with recently retired Justice John Waller in the majority and with new Justice Kaye Hearn not participating.  Given Justice Hearn’s extensive family law practice prior to her elevation to the appellate court, it would be interesting to know if she would have ruled with the majority.  Depending upon Justice Hearn’s views and the strength of this Court’s commitment to stare decisis, it may be that Webb itself is reconsidered or overruled at some point, and that the Supreme Court finds requiring divorced or unmarried parents to provide college support for their children does not violate equal protection.

If the Webb decision is subsequently reconsidered by the Supreme Court, Justice Kittridge’s dissent might become especially meaningful.  He would have held that “legislative approval for the family court ordering a parent to contribute to his or her adult child’s college educational expenses is limited to children of separated, divorced, or unmarried parents.” He further would have limited the post-secondary education support obligation “to a South Carolina publicly supported college or university.”  Kittridge’s views could well become the swing vote in any reconstituted majority.

If you are currently paying college support, you are welcome to click here to contact my office to find out how this decision impacts your obligation.

  • Michele Patrao Forsythe

    What are the implications of now filing a Motion to Dismiss an Order requiring payment of college expenses? Are the family court judges going to fight the petitioner of such a motion?? What is the proper way to dismiss such an Order? What if there was an agreement by consent when the parent felt there was no other option???

    • Michele,

      I was appellant’s counsel on this case.

      There will likely be two categories of cases filed in response to this Opinion.

      If you have a prior Order where college education was awarded by the court, you may be told that, absent an appeal, that is the law of the case. Nevertheless, you might consider making a Rule 60 (b)(5) motion to the effect that “it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application.”

      If you have a court-approved agreement for college education funds, you are not likely to get any relief. (See footnote 2 of the majority opinion). Also, there will be a good bit of caselaw in your way. However, you might have a legitimate argument if the court-approved Agreement referred to Risinger.

      Joe Underwood

    • Giovanni LoPresti

      This case was wrongly decided. The State does not have constitutional authority to overrule decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Parental Rights can not be overruled, unless a parent is unfit or a danger to a child. Single parents and divorcing parents can not be treated differently.

      STATUTE & CASE LAW BEING CHALLENGED AS UNCONSTUTIONAL
      N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)(5)(hereinafter referred to as “(Post Majority Support-PMS) ”
      Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529, 545, 443 A.2d 1031 (1982) & Hoefers v. Jones, 288 N.J. Super. 478, (App. Div. 1996), (hereinafter referred to as “(Post Majority Support-PMS) ”
      FEDERAL CONSTITUTION:
      Amendment XIV Section 1.
      All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
      STATE CONSTITUTION:
      N.J. Const Article I- All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.
      N.J. Const. Article VIII, § 4, P 1, which states:
      The Legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years.
      PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

      I respectfully submit that New Jersey Post Majority Support Laws are unconstitutional under the Federal & State Constitution. A parent has the right to raise a child free from governmental interferences as long as the parent is fit and the child is not in danger of substantial harm. Further, a parent has the right to define the family as he or she pleases, and not according to the State’s conception of what constitutes a “proper” family. As stated in Lewis v. Harris, 188 N.J. 415 (2006), the Court should never abandon its responsibility to protect the fundamental rights of all of our citizens, even the most alienated and disfavored, no matter how strong the winds of popular opinion may blow.
      Our State and Federal Constitution guarantees many rights. Paradoxically, one of our fundamental rights is not protected by New Jersey’s Post Majority Support Laws: the fundamental rights of every parent to direct the education and upbringing of our children, without State interference. This is an essential right to a free society. The State, by and through its appointed judges, should not be the director of private higher education for children. This, in essence, breaches a wall of separation between the State and the Family that should be and has been, ardently guarded throughout our nation’s history.
      The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently upheld the fundamental rights of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody and controlling the education of their children. Long ago, the Court rejected the notion that children are mere creatures of the state and therefore severely limited the circumstances in which the government may interfere in the private realm of family. Nevertheless, in New Jersey, a select class of fit parents could be stripped of their fundament right to control the education of a child, simply because a judge arbitrarily determines that they can make a better educational decision. In addition, our Legislators and Family Court Judges routinely fail to carefully respect the teaching of history & solid recognition of the basis values that underlie our society.
      POINT ONE
      N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)(5) & NEW JERSEY CASE LAW ON POST MAJORITY
      SUPPORT IS VOID PURSUANT TO COOPER VS. AARON

      The New Jersey Legislator and State Courts are obligated to comply with Cooper vs. Aaron, 358 U.S. 178 S. Ct. 1401 (1958):
      The Court held if a judge does not fully comply with the Constitution, then his orders are void. The protection of the Federal Constitution extends to all. All State Legislature & Judges have an affirmative duty to obey rulings from the United States Supreme Court interpretation of the United States Constitution. A state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it. Chief Justice Marshall spoke for a unanimous Court in saying that: ‘If the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery.’ United States v. Peters, 5 Cranch 115, 136, 3 L.Ed. 53.
      A Governor who asserts a power to nullify a federal court order is similarly restrained. If he had such power, said Chief Justice Hughes, in 1932, also for a unanimous Court, ‘it is manifest that the fiat of a state Governor, and not the Constitution of the United States, would be the supreme law of the land; that the restrictions of the Federal Constitution upon the exercise of state power would be but impotent phrases.’ Sterling v. Constantin, 287 U.S. 378, 397-398, 53 S.Ct. 190, 195, 77 L.Ed. 375.
      It is respectfully submitted that when the New Jersey Legislator enacted N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)(5), it did not have authority to create legislation that is contrary to rulings from the United States Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution. Similarly, New Jersey Courts had no authority to create case law on the subject of Post Majority Support, when in fact it was contrary to rulings from the United States Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution. For all the reasons stated in this brief, “(PMS)” is void, because it does not obey rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution.
      POINT TWO

      N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)(5) & NEW JERSEY CASE LAW ON POST MAJORITY
      SUPPORT MATERIALLY INTERFERES WITH THE GUARANTEED
      LIBERTY INTEREST OF PARENTS TO ESTABLISH A HOME & DIRECT THE UPBRINGING AND EDUCATION OF THEIR CHILDREN

      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & materially interferes with Divorcing & Single Parents liberty interest to establish a home and direct the education & upbringing of their children. In Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, (1923), the Court held that the liberty interest of Parents is protected by U.S.C.A. Const.Amend. 14, may not be interfered with under the guise of protecting the public interest, by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state to effect.
      Upon information and belief, case law was developed under the guise of protecting interest. When a court begins to make rules for the public good, as it said it did in Khalaf v. Khalaf, 58 N.J. 63, 71-72 (1971), Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529, 545, 443 A.2d 1031 (1982) & Hoefers v. Jones, 288 N.J. Super. 478, (App. Div. 1996), without reference to constitutional fundamental principles, it becomes a lawmaking body that has based its decision not on fundamental precepts of law, but rather upon a utilitarian methodology distinctively political in nature. The court bases its opinions on the effects a rule will have on society in the future and not upon the particular facts of a case, it operates within a political realm reserved exclusively for legislative bodies.
      The term arbitrary as used in this brief, shall have the following meaning:
      The term arbitrary describes a course of action or a decision that is not based on reason or judgment but on personal will or discretion without regard to rules or standards. An arbitrary decision is one made without regard for the facts and circumstances presented, and it connotes a disregard of the evidence.
      In many instances, the term implies an element of bad faith, and it may be used synonymously with tyrannical or despotic. The term arbitrary refers to the standard of review used by courts when reviewing a variety of decisions on appeal. For example, the arbitrary and capricious standard of review is the principle standard of review used by judicial courts hearing appeals that challenge decisions issued by administrative bodies.

      http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Arbitrary
      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & denies Divorcing & Single Parents their fundamental rights to control the education of their children without unreasonable restrictions. In Farrington v. Tokushige, 273 U.S. 284 (1927), in which the Court explained:
      The capacity to impart instruction to others is given by the Almighty for beneficent purposes and its use may not be forbidden or interfered with by government — certainly not, unless such instruction is, in its nature, harmful to the public morals or imperils the public safety.

      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & interferes with Divorcing & Single Parents rights to control the education of their children. In Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479,(1965), the Court emphasized that the state cannot interfere with the right of a parent to control his child’s education. Id.,at 486. The Court stated that the right to educate one’s child as one chooses is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and applicable to the States by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & impairs Divorcing & Single Parents personal and privacy rights. In Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U. S. 438 (1972), the Court invalidated a law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried persons. The case was decided under the Equal Protection Clause, id., at 454; but with respect to unmarried persons, the Court went on to state the fundamental proposition that the law impaired the exercise of their personal rights, ibid. It quoted from the statement of the Court of Appeals finding the law to be in conflict with fundamental human rights, and it followed with this statement of its own:
      “It is true that in Griswold the right of privacy in question inhered in the marital relationship… . If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.” Id., at 453.
      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & treats Divorcing & Single Parents (Mainly Fathers), differently from intact married Parents. The U.S. Supreme Court implied that “a (once) married father who is separated or divorced from a mother and is no longer living with his child” could not constitutionally be treated differently from a currently married father living with his child. Quilloin v. Walcott, 98 S Ct 549; 434 US 246, 255-56, (1978).
      These fundamental rights apply to all parents, regardless of their marital status and are deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition:

      Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, (1944), Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972),Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494(1977), Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246, 248 (1978), Parham v. J.R., 442 US 584, 602-606 (1979), Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753 (1982), Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 304 (1992), Washington v. Gluksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997), Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, (2000).

      The U.S. Supreme Court has adopted an historical approach to the recognition of liberty interests protected under the Due Process Clause. In addressing claims that a state has interfered with an individual’s exercise of a previously unrecognized liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court looked at the nation’s history and legal traditions to determine whether the asserted interest is actually so fundamental to our system of ordered liberty as to merit constitutional protection from state regulation. “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & shows no respect toward Divorcing & Single Parents (Mainly Fathers), to the basic values that underlie our society. For instance, in Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1976) (plurality opinion), the Court observed that:
      “Appropriate limits on substantive due process come not from drawing arbitrary lines but rather from careful ‘respect for the teaching of history and, solid recognition of the basic values that underlie our society’.” Id. at 503 (quoting Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 501 [1965] [Harlan, J., concurring]).
      The importance of national legal tradition in substantive due process jurisprudence was resolved in Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997), in which the Court emphasized the necessity of “examining our Nation’s history, legal traditions, and practices” in order to determine whether a claimed liberty interest was, “objectively, ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition'” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” and, therefore, merited protection under the Fourteenth Amendment:
      Our established method of substantive due process analysis has two primary features: First, we have regularly observed that the Due Process Clause specially protects those fundamental rights and liberties which are, objectively, “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” [Moore v. City of East Cleveland], at 503 (plurality opinion); Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U.S. 97, 105 (1934) (“so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental”), and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” such that “neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed,” Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325, 326 (1937). Second, we have required in substantive due process cases a “careful description” of the asserted fundamental liberty interest. Flores, supra, at 302; Collins [v. Harker Heights, 503 U.S. 115 (1992)] at 125; Cruzan [v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261 (1990)] at 277–278. Our Nation’s history, legal traditions, and practices thus provide the crucial “guideposts for responsible decision-making,” Collins, supra, at 125, that direct and restrain our exposition of the Due Process Clause. 521 U.S. at 720–721.
      Thus, regardless of marital status, a Parents’ right to control the education of their children clearly takes precedence over the State’s regulatory interest. “(PMS)” is not so compelling or necessary, that a select class of fit Parents, mainly Fathers, Single or Divorcing Parents must forfeit their liberty interests, while intact married Parents’ fundamental rights to control the education of their children are respected. A review of these cases unquestionably shows that the Supreme Court has unwaveringly given parental rights the highest respect & protection. The fundamental liberty and privacy interests of parents controlling the education of their children are essential to the order of liberty our Constitution protects. The State may not, without overriding need, regiment and limit this personal and important part of its citizens’ lives. The reality of these families cannot be disregarded just because they do not match the “nuclear” model of a married couple with their biological children. See, e.g., Troxel, 530 U.S. at 63 (“The demographic changes of the past century make it difficult to speak of an average American family. The composition of families varies greatly from household to household”); id. at 85 (Stevens, J., dissenting); id. at 98-101 (Kennedy, J., dissenting); Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110, 124 n.3 (1989) (plurality opinion) (“The family unit accorded traditional respect in our society . . . includes the household of unmarried parents and their children”). Thus, Single & Divorcing Parents retain the same fundamental rights as Married Parents. The State may do much in order to improve the quality of its children, educationally, physically, mentally and morally, is clear; but all Parents and regardless of their marital status have certain guaranteed fundamental rights to control the education of their children which must be respected.
      POINT THREE
      THE STATE’S PRESUMPTIONS ON NECESSARY EDUCATION ARE DE MINIMIS
      The State’s presumption that it has a strong interest in the outcome of disputes where the welfare of our young citizens is at stake is misplaced, nor constitutional. The State’s presumption in which they claim to have a strong interest in ensuring that our youth are educated & that college is necessary so Adult Children can become more productive members of our society is also constitutionally flawed. The correct constitutional presumption is that the State has little, if any, interest in caring for a child when the child’s parent is fit. See, e.g., Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246, 248 (1978) (“The State’s interest in caring for the children is ‘de minimis’ if the parent is in fact a fit parent.”). In this case, both fit Parents are presumed to act in the best interest of their child. Thus, the State only has a de minimis interest, if any.
      POINT FOUR
      STATE’S LEGITIMATE INTEREST IN AN CHILD’S COLLEGE EDUCATION IS CONSTITUTIONALLY FLAWED
      To suggest government’s “special interest” in protecting children, or invoking the altruistic language of “best interest,” or simply saying that “children have a right to be free from harm” are legally insufficient criteria for “children’s rights” and elevating the role of the state into the lives of families. See Martin Guggenheim, What’s Wrong with Children’s Rights, passim (Harvard University Press 2005). Lassiter v. Dep’t of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18, 46 n.13 (1981)(so-called “best interests” standard offers little guidance to judges, and may effectively encourage them to rely on their own personal values). Troxel emphatically rejected the notion that a “best interest of the child” standard is enough for a judge to supplement the decision of a fit parent. The statist notion that government may supersede parental authority in order to ensure bureaucratically or judicially determined “best interests” of children has been rejected as repugnant to American traditions. Judges and state officials are ill-equipped to second guess parents and are precluded from intervening in absence of powerful countervailing interests. Zummo v. Zummo, 574 A.2d 1130, 1138 (Pa. Super. 1990), citing Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U.S. 248, 257-61, 103 S.Ct. 2985, 2991-93, 77 L.Ed. 2d 614, 623-29 (1982).
      The U.S. Supreme Court in discussing the constitutionality of a state law that impinges upon a fundamental right held, “It is of course true that a law that impinges upon a fundamental right explicitly or implicitly secured by the Constitution is presumptively unconstitutional. Mobile v. Bolden, 446 U.S. 55 (1980).” For the same precise reasons, “The Law” is void, because it does not obey rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution.
      POINT FIVE

      N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)(5) & NEW JERSEY CASE LAW ON POST MAJORITY
      SUPPORT VIOLATES THE TRADITION OF BROAD PARENTAL AUTHORITY
      & INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY

      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & deprives Divorcing & Single Parents (Mainly Fathers), broad constitutional authority over their children. As stated in Parham v. J.R., 442 US 584, 602-606 (1979).
      Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course; our constitutional system long ago rejected any notion that a child is “the mere creature of the State” and, on the contrary, asserted that parents generally “have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare [their children] for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925) … [other citations omitted] . . . The law’s concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life’s difficult decisions. More important, historically it has been recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children.

      It is important to emphasize, that there is no Supreme Court precedent saying that Parents Fundamental Liberty Interest to child rearing & controlling the education of their children are lost or diminished in anyway by divorced or a family court proceeding. A noncustodial parent does not become less of parent if he or she decides that private or higher education is not in the best interest of a child. A Parent’s responsibility does not diminish and the rights which accompany that responsibility remain as well. As the U.S. Supreme Court articulated, “the tradition of parental authority is… one of the basic presuppositions of individual liberty.” Bellotti v. Baird, 443 U.S. at 638. The law’s concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life’s difficult decisions. More important, historically it has recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children.
      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & deprives Divorcing & Single Parents (Mainly Fathers), fundamental liberty interests to control the education of their children, simply because two Fit Parents are in disagreement. Even assuming there are allegations that one parent might have mistreated the children, the underlying liberty interest, and the presumption that parents act in the best interest of their children, does not evaporate, and the state cannot seek to tear apart the family unit without giving due respect to both parents’ – and the children’s – liberty interests. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753 (1982). Fundamental rights are unalienable rights safeguarded by the 1st, 5th, 14th amendment of U.S. Constitution. No state can usurp these fundamental liberty interest rights automatically solely because parents are in disagreement. When two fit parents, regardless of their marital status, come before the bar of justice, the Court has taken an oath to treat both fit parents equally. However, this is not the case in the State of New Jersey. Where fundamental liberty interest rights to family integrity hang in the balance, as a constitutional matter, there is no basis for treating fit, unmarried, natural parents differently from fit married, natural parents. Alsager v. District Court of Polk County, Iowa, 406 F.Supp. 10, 15 (S.D.Iowa 1975). By the same token, parents who have undergone divorce or the bereavement of their spouse’s death retain their fundamental rights to raise their children without state veto of their decisions.
      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates against Divorcing & Single Parents (Mainly Fathers), rights to make child rearing decisions. Justice Scalia’s dissent in Troxel, “recognizes that the right of parents to make decisions regarding a child’s care, control, education, health, and religion, as well as with whom the child will associate, is a fundamental right that arises “as an inherent consequence of the parent-child relationship independent of any case law, statute, or constitutional provision.” Id. at 7. Troxel also held that the Due Process Clause mandates a “presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children” under which a trial court “must accord at least some special weight to the parent’s own determination.” 530 U.S. at 68, 70 (plurality opinion) (emphasis added).
      POINT SIX
      STATE HAS NO COMPELLING JUSTIFICATION FOR AN INFRINGMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL PARENTAL RIGHTS

      “(PMS)” routinely discriminates & infringes on the fundamental rights of Divorcing & Single Parents (Mainly Fathers), to raise their children as they see fit. The New Jersey Supreme Court has acknowledged that the State lacks a compelling justification for an infringement on the fundamental rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit. See Watkins v. Nelson, 163 N.J. 235 (2000), The Watkins Court determined that only a showing of unfitness, abandonment, gross misconduct or exceptional circumstances would overcome the presumption in favor of the parent, and that “exceptional circumstances” requires proof of serious physical or psychological harm or a substantial likelihood of such harm. Watkins explains that avoiding harm to the child is the polestar and the constitutional imperative that is necessary to overcome the presumption in favor of the parent’s decision and to justify intrusion into family life. In N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. E.P., 196 N.J. 88, 102 (2008), the Court recognized the right of a parents to raise a child and maintain a relationship with that child, without undue interference by the state, is protected by the United States and New Jersey Constitutions.
      As long as a fit parents regardless of their marital status adequately cares for their children is fit and is in compliance with N.J. Const. Article VIII, § 4, P 1, there should be no reason whatsoever for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent’s children. Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 304 (1992); Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, (2000). Parental rights consist of fundamental liberty and privacy interest, which the State can only infringe upon after finding a child is in severe harm, or severe danger of being harmed. A fit parent’s fundamental rights do not evaporate upon the filing of a divorce complaint or at any time thereafter. The Court Troxel held the U.S. Constitution, “requires that a prior and independent finding of parental unfitness – by clear and convincing evidence, (not a preponderance of evidence) must be made before the court may proceed to the question of whether an order disturbing and limiting a parent’s ‘care, custody, and control’ of his or her child is in that child’s best interests.” In New Jersey, the preponderance of evidence standard is utilized. This standard is void under Cooper vs. Aaron, 358 U.S. 178 S. Ct. 1401 (1958).
      It is beyond question that the compelling state interest must involve the prevention of harm to the child. Since “(PMS)” permits the State to routinely interfere with parents’ constitutional privacy & fundamental rights to control the education of their children to a select class of parents, without a demonstration of harm to the child, it is unconstitutional. Further, the promotion of litigation, possibly directly involving the child, is not the least intrusive means to any purported State interest. It is, thus, axiomatic that since the parents’ authority to raise their children is a basic, fundamental right, it cannot be usurped or impinged upon by the government except when doing so serves a compelling state interest and accomplishes its goals with the least intrusive means. See Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 113, 155 (1977).
      POINT SEVEN
      PARENTS RIGHTS TO BE LEFT ALONE IS ROOTED IN OUR HISTORY
      The concept of privacy or right to be left alone is deeply rooted in our heritage and it is founded upon historical notions and federal constitutional expressions of ordered liberty. Justice Brandeis, sometimes called the father of the idea of privacy, recognized this
      fundamental right of privacy when he wrote:
      The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. . . They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478, 48 S. Ct. 564, 572, 72 L. Ed. 944 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting).

      The United States Supreme Court has fashioned a right of privacy which protects the decision-making or autonomy zone of privacy interests of the individual. The Court’s decisions include matters concerning marriage, procreation, contraception, relationships and child rearing, and education. “(PMS)” violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Under the Federal Constitution, parents have a liberty and privacy interest in the care, custody and management of their children. To permit any governmental interference into these rights, there must be a powerful countervailing interest. The United States Supreme Court has interpreted this interest to mean that there must first be a showing of harm to the child as a result of the parents’ decision. Accordingly, because “(PMS)” allows the State to intrude upon the parents’ broad authority to raise their children without any demonstration of harm, it unconstitutionally violates the Fourteenth Amendment and is void under Cooper vs. Aaron, 358 U.S. 178 S. Ct. 1401 (1958).
      POINT EIGHT
      THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY DOES NOT HAVE PARENS PATRIAE POWER TO OVERRULE FIT PARENTS EDUCATIONAL DECISION CONCERNING THEIR CHILDREN

      The Court’s claim that it is empowered, as parens patriae, to extend the benefit of private college education must be rejected under Yoder, in which the Court stated:
      The State’s claim that it is empowered, as parens patriae, to extend the benefit of secondary education to children regardless of the wishes of their parents cannot be sustained against a free exercise claim of the nature revealed by this record, for the Amish have introduced convincing evidence that accommodating their religious objections by forgoing one or two additional years of compulsory education will not impair the physical or mental health of the child, or result in an inability to be self-supporting or to discharge the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, or in any other way materially detract from the welfare of society.
      This case involves the fundamental interest of parents, as contrasted with that of the state, to guide the religious future and education of their children. The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an endure
      ng tradition. [emphasis supplied]
      This case involved a family of the Amish religion who wanted to be exempt after eighth grade from the public schools to be instructed at home. In its opinion the U.S. Supreme Court further emphasized that:
      Thus a state’s interest in universal education, however highly we rank it, is not totally free from a balancing process when it impinges on fundamental rights and interests, such as those specifically protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and the traditional interest of parents with respect to the religious upbringing of their children . . . This case involves the fundamental and religious future and education of their children. Id., at 214. [emphasis supplied]

      The Court in Newburgh held that parents are not under a duty to support children after the age of majority. Nonetheless, in appropriate circumstances, the privilege of parenthood carries with it the duty to assure a necessary education for children. I respectfully and constitutionally disagree with this presumption. First, see all Points outlined above in which all fit Parents have fundamental right to control the education of their child without State interference, which unquestionably is deeply rooted in our nation’s history. Second, under Article VIII, § 4, P 1, a parent’s compulsory obligation to educate their children terminates upon the child reaching 18 years of age. Third, there can be no dispute that, “PMS” routinely discriminates & does not apply evenhandedly to similarly situate Parents & adult children. Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co. (Child Labor Tax Case), 259 U.S. 20, 37, 42 S. Ct. 449, 66 L. Ed. 817 (1922) (reviewing court must strike down unconstitutional law even though that law is “designed to promote the highest good.” I can agree that the good sought in this unconstitutional law is an insidious feature, because I believe it leads the courts and legislators of good purpose to promote it, without thought of the serious breach it will make in the ark of our covenant, or the harm which will come from breaking down recognized standards. The equal protection provision in the New Jersey Constitution “prohibits the State of New Jersey from adopting statutory classifications that treat similarly situated people differently.” (Sanchez v. Dep’t of Human Servs., 314 N.J. Super. 11, 30 (App. Div. 1998)) & for all the reasons set forth in this brief. Fourth, as a general rule, the U.S. Supreme Court held that while a State may assert quasi-sovereign right as Parens Patriae for the protection of its citizens, it is not part of its duty or power to enforce their rights in respect to their relations with the Federal Government, Massachusetts v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 447 (1923).
      POINT NINE
      THE PRESUMPTION OF NECESSARY COLLEGE EDUCATION IS CONSTITUIONALLY FLAWED
      As articulated in Yoder, the correct constitutional presumption is not that secondary education is necessary, but without “(PMS),” would it impair the physical or mental health of the child, or result in an inability to be self-supporting or to discharge the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, or in any other way materially detract from the welfare of society? For the same precise reasons, “PMS” is unconstitutional & void. “PMS” circumvents the Constitutional command that that the exercise of Parens Patriae Power is subject to the United States Constitutional system of Ordered Liberty. See Meyer Id. at 290, (“Determination by the Legislature of what constitutes proper exercise of police power is not final or conclusive but is subject to supervision by the courts.”). Particularly after the enactment of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, the Supreme Court applied due process principles and strict scrutiny analysis to limit state invocations of its Parens Patriae Power. “PMS” routinely discriminates against Single & Divorcing Parents, (Mainly Fathers), in matters relating to marriage, procreation, family relationships, and child rearing and education. These are fundamental rights and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty as described in Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319 (1937).” Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 713 (1976). “In these areas . . . there are limits on the state’s power to substantively regulate conduct.” Id. The Fourteenth Amendment prevents the State of New Jersey, from interfering with guaranteed liberty interest of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children and regardless of their marital status.
      The State’s claim that “PMS” is not arbitrary (without any legal analysis which defines arbitrary), inequitable, unreasonable, or an unjust classification, and the claim on what exists is a package of special parens patriae powers in equity that the courts, regardless of legislation, have long used to protect the interests of children of broken homes and to assure that the disadvantages of divorce on these children are minimized, does not comply with Federal or State Constitution. As stated in Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944), there is a “private realm of family life which the state cannot enter” that has been afforded both substantive and procedural protection against arbitrary state intrusion into the intimate relationships of parents and children alike. Similarly, the Court admitted the high responsibilities are right of parents to control the upbringing of their children against that of the State, in which they stated:
      It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the State can neither supply nor hinder.
      Absent a “powerful countervailing interest” of the state in protecting a child’s welfare, Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651 (1972), court action on behalf of a non-parent based on an ill-defined “best interest of children” test is an impermissible burden on parents and on the liberty interests of children to a parent and a measure of family autonomy. That burden includes financial, time that can never be recovered, and privacy sacrifices by the affected family. While the state’s parens patriae interest in protecting children against “harms” or threatened harms is compelling, it does not warrant allowing a judge to invoke this interest against a child’s custodial parent absent a showing that the parent is, in fact, insufficiently protecting the child against harm.
      “PMS” routinely discriminates against Single & Divorcing Parents, (Mainly Fathers), on Parental Autonomy & routinely overrides parental educational decisions. In Fawzy v. Fawzy, 199 N.J. 456, 473-475 (2009), the Court state:
      “Deference to parental autonomy means that the State does not second-guess parental decision making….[n]or does it impose its own notion of a child’s best interests on a family….Indeed the state has an obligation, under the parens patriae doctrine, to intervene where it is necessary to prevent harm to a child.”
      It has been repeatedly recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court, that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children, especially when the state purports to know better. See M.L.B. v. S.L.J., 519 U.S. 102, 116 (1996). In Troxel, five Justices made clear that the presumption is not rebutted when there is no special justification for compelling visitation other than the trial court’s disagreement with the parents over whether visitation would be in the children’s best interests. See id. at 72-73. “PMS” routinely discriminates against Single & Divorcing Parents, (Mainly Fathers), by allowing judges to make child rearing educational decisions, simply because the State believes a Judge can make a better decision, (“The Due Process Clause does not permit a State to infringe on the fundamental right of parents to make child rearing decisions simply because a state judge believes a ‘better’ decision could be made.”); id. at 78 (Souter, J., concurring in the judgment) (finding it insufficient that “a judge believed he ‘could make a better decision’ than the objecting parent had done”). It is respectfully submitted, that if Single & Divorcing Parents are not agreeable on an Adult Child’s higher educational needs, that the Court has no authority to assume power to make that decision. The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition. Simply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child or because it involves risks does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state. Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children See Parham v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979).
      In this case, we have a similar situation that was faced in Troxel, a disagreement between two fit Parents. “PMS” commands discrimination to a select class of Fit Parents to be stripped of their fundamental right to control the education of a child, simply because a judge arbitrarily and impliedly determines that they can make a better educational decision. It is axiomatic that there is an essential difference between the State and the family under our form of government. Each has a responsibility to govern within its sphere of authority. The State’s power to govern, although encompassing a large population and extensive geographical area, is nonetheless limited in scope. The State’s parens patriae powers do not “trump” constitutional protections of fundamental liberties. The terms “welfare” and “best interests” are not synonymous: before the state may intervene, there must be a threat of harm to the former, rather than merely an opportunity to contribute to the latter. As explained above, even assuming the Court does not find “PMS” to be arbitrary, it is still obligated to carefully respect the teaching of history & solid recognition of the basis values that underlie our society. For the same precise reasons, “The Law,” is unconstitutional, because it does not obey rulings from the State & U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution.

      POINT TEN

      N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)(5) & NEW JERSEY CASE LAW ON POST MAJORITY
      SUPPORT LAW CIRCUMVENTS THE STATE CONSTITUTION ARTICLE VIII, § 4, P 1
      The desire of our Legislature & our Courts to foster a select class of homogeneous children of this State is commendable. It is undisputed that our citizens have always regarded education & acquisition of knowledge as matters of supreme importance. Indeed, many children pursue some form of education after they reach the age of majority (18). With respect to higher education, the State openly claims to have a discriminatory legitimate interest against Single & Divorcing Parents, (Mainly Fathers). A Family Court routinely makes educational decisions in place of these fit parents. The Court routinely invokes parens patriae power, without any showing of harm. This power is routinely utilized to compel a parent or parents to provide for Adult Child Support & College Contribution, so that their adult children can pursue a college education and the State benefits by continued incentives under Title IV-D.
      By compelling a parent or parents of a select class to pay support for Adult Children, plus college contribution, the State of New Jersey continues to receive Title IV-D Incentives, beyond the Age of Majority. Thus, under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, the State continues to draw federal revenues & incentives based on the number and magnitude of “adult child support” orders mass produced in Family Court. If you can get more parents to fight about Adult Children, the State makes more money, simple as that. It is a scheme which exploits a rule of nature. In my view, these incentives view, violates N.J.S.A. 52:13D-14, which states:
      State officer or employee or member of legislature; acceptance of thing of value to influence public duties
      No State officer or employee, special State officer or employee, or member of the Legislature shall accept from any person, whether directly or indirectly and whether by himself or through his spouse or any member of his family or through any partner or associate, any gift, favor, service, employment or offer of employment or any other thing of value which he knows or has reason to believe is offered to him with intent to influence him in the performance of his public duties and responsibilities. This section shall not apply to the acceptance of contributions to the campaign of an announced candidate for elective public office.
      It is now clear that Divorcing, Separated & Single Parents are now a source of revenue for the State. New Jersey’s Post Majority Laws on its face circumvent Article VIII, § 4, P 1, which states:
      The Legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years.
      Thus, under our State Constitution, “PMS” is unconstitutional; because a parent’s compulsory obligation to educate their children terminates upon attaining the age of 18 under Article VIII, § 4, P 1. The State’s Statutory & Case Law does not “trump” our State Constitution, or our Federal Constitutional protections of fundamental liberties. Our State Constitution has established a Constitutional Right for all of its citizens to participate in free public education and has established compulsory attendance requirement that in no case extends to post-secondary education to children of married, divorcing or single parents. I do not question the power of a State, having a high responsibility for providing free education of its citizens, to impose reasonable regulations for the control and duration of basic education. However, the State’s only compelling interest with respect to a child’s education is limited to N.J. Const. Article VIII, § 4, P 1. It’s also important to emphasize that there is neither a State nor Federal Constitutional Right to a college education. Nor is there a common law right to a college education. “PMS” is unconstitutional, because all New Jersey Parents cannot not be court compelled to educate a child beyond what is required of our State Constitution.
      POINT ELEVEN
      N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)(5) & NEW JERSEY CASE LAW ON POST MAJORITY
      SUPPORT VIOLATES THE NEW JERSEY & EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE
      THE OF FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

      Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution sets forth the first principles of our governmental charter – that every person possesses the “unalienable rights” to enjoy life, liberty, and property, and to pursue happiness. The Equal Protection Clause of Federal Constitution provides that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1. The equal protection clause of the federal constitution requires that similarly-situated persons be treated similarly. It is the definition of unequal protection to grant favoritism or special rights to either of two similarly-situated persons. See F.S. Royster Guano Co. v. Virginia, 253 U.S. 412, 415 (1920). Although our State Constitution nowhere expressly states that every person shall be entitled to the equal protection of the laws, the New Jersey Supreme Court has construed the expansive language of Article I, Paragraph 1 to embrace that fundamental guarantee. Sojourner A. v. N.J. Dep’t of Human Servs., 177 N.J. 318, 332 (2003); Greenberg v. Kimmelman 99 N.J. 552, 567-68 (1985). The first paragraph to our State Constitution “protect[s] against injustice and against the unequal treatment of those who should be treated alike.” Greenberg, supra, 99 N.J. at 568. In this case, intact married families’ fundamental rights to control of the education of their children are respected. These Parents have a right to assist or deny their Adult Child with college contribution and the Adult Child has no standing whatsoever to pursue parents for college contribution. On the other hand, if you are divorcing or a single parent, a family court judge routinely discriminates & override educational decisions of these select class of fit parents, (mainly fathers), without a showing of harm. Thus, providing unequal treatment of those fit parents who should be treated alike. Most importantly, on the issue of Equal Protection, the U.S. Supreme Court implied that “a (once) married father who is separated or divorced from a mother and is no longer living with his child” could not constitutionally be treated differently from a currently married father living with his child. Quilloin v. Walcott, 98 S Ct 549; 434 US 246, 255-56, (1978).
      ANALYSIS UNDER
      LEWIS V. HARRIS, 188 N.J. 415 (2006),

      Under Article I, Paragraph 1, as under the Fourteenth Amendment’s substantive due process analysis, determining whether a fundamental right exists involves a two-step inquiry.   First, the asserted fundamental liberty interest must be clearly identified.   See Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 721, 117 S.Ct. 2258, 2268, 138 L.Ed.2d 772, 788 (1997).   In this case, all fit parents have a fundamental liberty interest to control the education of their children without State interference. Second, that liberty interest must be objectively and deeply rooted in the traditions, history, and conscience of the people of this State. Without question, these fundamental rights of parents are deeply rooted in traditions, history & conscience of the citizens of the United States. See Point One.
      It is important to recognize that there can be no disparate treatment of either of two fit parents as it relates to their constitutional right to make decisions about their children, including their upbringing and education; there is a due-process presumption that both parents are fit and have not relinquished their fundamental right to parent; operation of logic must produce in each parent a right to equal, post-divorce possession of their children and to have equal control over the life decisions affecting those children; and this presumption can only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence that one or both of the parents is unfit. The State cannot, under guise of exercising its police power, interfere with this guaranteed liberty interest. Within the concept of liberty protected by Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution are core rights of such overriding value that we consider them to be fundamental.   Determining whether a particular claimed right is fundamental is a task that requires both caution and foresight.   When engaging in a substantive due process analysis under the Fourteenth Amendment, as in this case, the United States Supreme Court has instructed that it must “exercise the utmost care” before finding new rights, which place important social issues beyond public debate, “lest the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause be subtly transformed into the policy preferences of the Members of [the] Court.”  Glucksberg, supra, 521 U.S. at 720, 117 S.Ct. at 2267-68, 138 L.Ed.2d at 787 (internal quotation marks omitted).  
      In searching for the meaning of “liberty” under Article I, Paragraph 1, we must resist the temptation of seeing in the majesty of that word only a mirror image of our own strongly felt opinions and beliefs.   Under the guise of newly found rights, we must be careful not to impose our personal value system on eight-and-one-half million people, thus bypassing the democratic process as the primary means of effecting social change in this State. This is exactly what our Courts & Legislator did; impose their personal value system when these Post Majority Support Laws were created. That being said, the Court should never abandon its responsibility to protect the fundamental rights of all of our citizens, even the most alienated and disfavored, no matter how strong the winds of popular opinion may blow. Also, every person is entitled to the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and to the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the federal and state Constitutions, and the Court should protect and safeguard these fundamental rights to the extent, if necessary, of declaring invalid any legislative enactment clearly shown to be in violation of them.
      In this case, the State cannot establish that “PMS” is necessary to all children of this State, nor is narrowly tailored to advance a compelling necessary government interest. The State Legislature & Judges have an affirmative duty to obey rulings from the United States Supreme Court interpretation of the United States Constitution. The guaranteed fundamental rights of parents to control the education of their children are not to be sacrificed or yielded to the State of New Jersey, simply because of disagreement between two fit Parents. The Due Process Clause does not allow the State to infringe on the fundamental right of parents to make child rearing decisions simply because a state judge believes a better decision could be made. Also, parents have the freedom of personal choices in family matters. See Santosky, 455 U.S. at 753 (emphasizing this “Court’s historical recognition that freedom of personal choice in matters of family life is a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.”).
      The State’s only compelling necessary interest with respect to a child’s education is limited to N.J. Const. Article VIII, § 4, P 1. While a State has broad power when it comes to making classifications, it may not draw a line which constitutes an invidious discrimination against a particular class. See Levy v. Louisiana , 88 S.Ct. 1509, 391 U.S. 68 (1968). Any statutory scheme which commands dissimilar treatment for men and women who are similarly situated involves the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Constitution. See Frontiero v. Richardson, 93 S.Ct. 1746; 411 U.S. 677 (1973).
      At one time, the State of New Jersey upheld both the State and Federal Constitution for all of its citizens. In Ziesel v. Ziesel, 115 A. 435 (N.J. 1921), the Court had to determine whether to force non-custodial parents to pay for more expensive private high schools for their minor children. Holding that a father is under no legal duty to send his son to boarding school, the court explained that the father could not be compelled by the courts to pay if he were still married, so he must not be compelled as a non-custodial parent to pay for a private school. Lehr v. Robertson, 463 U.S. 248, 267 (1983)
      (“We have held that these statutes [where mothers and fathers are treated disparately] may not constitutionally be applied in that class of cases where the mother and father are in fact similarly situated with regard to their relationship with the child.”).
      For the same precise reasons, “The Law,” is unconstitutional, because it does not obey rulings from the State & U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution.
      POINT TWELVE
      THE SECOND EQUAL PROTECTION QUESTION IN THIS CASE IS WHETHER SIMILARLY SITUATED YOUNG ADULT CHILDREN IN NEED OF COLLEGE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE MY BE TREATED DIFFERENTLY?

      In Curtis v. Kline, 666 A.2d 265 (Pa. 1995), the State Supreme Court addressed the question of whether Act 62, 23 PA.CONS.STAT.ANN. § 4327(a), a statute requiring separated, divorced, or unmarried parents to provide post-secondary education support to their adult children, violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court held that the statute violated the equal protection clause because Act 62 classified, without a rational basis, “young adults according to the marital status of their parents, establishing for one group an action to obtain a benefit enforceable by court order [i.e., funds for a post-secondary education] that is not available to the other group.” Id., at 258, 666 A.2d at 269. In doing so, the Court stated that “we perceive no rational basis for the state government to provide only certain adult citizens with legal means to overcome the difficulties they encounter in [financing post-secondary education].” Id., at 259, 666 A.2d at 269-270.
      Like Curtis, there can be no legal basis why New Jersey adult children similarly situated with respect to needing funds for college education, should be treated unequally. “The Law” mandates that a child of divorce or single parents have a greater legal right to a private or college education than a child whose parents remain married. “The Law” unquestionably violates the first paragraph in our State Constitution which “protects against injustice and against the unequal treatment of those who should be treated alike.” Greenberg, supra, 99 N.J. at 568. ). “The Law” also commands dissimilar treatment for young adults according to the marital status of their parents, establishing for one group an action to obtain a benefit enforceable by court order [i.e., funds for a post-secondary education] that is not available to the other group. The framers of the U.S. Constitution knew, and we should not forget today, that there is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority be imposed generally. Conversely, nothing opens the door to arbitrary action so effectively as to allow those officials to pick and choose only a few to whom they will apply legislation and thus to escape the political retribution that might be visited upon them if larger numbers were affected. Railway Express Agency, Inc. v. New York, 336 U.S. 106, 112—113 (1949) (concurring opinion).
      In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992), the Court reaffirmed the substantive force of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause. The Casey decision again confirmed that our laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. Id., at 851. In explaining the respect the Constitution demands for the autonomy of the person in making these choices, we stated as follows:
      ” These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.” Ibid.
      “PMS” allows a family court judge to invade an area that has been held dear to the hearts of parents, i.e., the right of the parent to decide how to educate their child? What about the parents’ recourse or control over an adult child? In an intact family, monetary support is very likely tied to acceptable behavior and passing grades. However, a noncustodial parent lacks both the ‘bat’ and the ‘ball.’ If a divorce or single parent is judicially obligated to pay for his or her child’s higher education, the parent has no recourse, as would a parent in an intact family, to ‘make’ the child comply with reasonable educational standards. An ‘adult child’ may suddenly cut off all contact with the parent. The ‘adult child’ may reject the parent’s value system. The court, not the parent, may approve the college of choice for the ‘adult child.’ The child may make unsatisfactory grades or may otherwise refuse to ‘take his education seriously,’ and still, the ‘adult child’ may collect an entitlement from the noncustodial parent’s tuition money. And what is the noncustodial parent’s only recourse? Hire a lawyer and seek a costly redress in the court system. This seems un-American, impractical, discriminatory and seriously unfair to a select class of fit Parents. It seems to be a matter that presents a drain on the individuals involved as well as the courts. This system reduces a direct incentive for children to maintain both a civil (and accountable) relationship with the noncustodial parent, and without question, places a noncustodial parent in an discriminatory and unfair disadvantage. As indicated above, while the state’s parens patriae interest in protecting children against “harms” or threatened harms is compelling, it does not warrant allowing a Family Court Judge to invoke this interest against a child’s parent absent a showing that the parent is, in fact, insufficiently protecting the child against harm.
      The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment “is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.” Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, Inc., 473 U.S. 432, 439 (1985); see also Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 216 (1982). It has been said that rights cannot exist merely in theory or on paper; they must exist in reality or they are meaningless. See Cooper v. Nutley Sun Printing Co., 36 N.J. 189, 197 (1961) (New Jersey Constitution does not embody rights in a vacuum, existing only on paper. And where rights are not equal in application or practice, then the promise and guarantee of equal rights remains unfulfilled. It is a commendable practice of recognizing when “one of our decisions has consequences that were not fully anticipated.” Pinto v. Spectrum Chems. & Lab. Prods., 200 N.J. 580, 598 (2010). Logically, that axiom is equally applicable when one of its decisions has not had the remedial consequences that the Court anticipated would result.
      “PMS” also seizes upon a moral obligation. A moral obligation, however, cannot substantiate the imposition of a legal obligation. Although I can agree with the deleterious financial and emotional effects of divorce, these alone do not justify disparate treatment of adult children of divorcing and single parent families from adult children of intact families. These adult children who are similarly situated in that they are over the age of eighteen and desire parental financial support for college education. See Grapin v. Grapin, 450 So. 2d 853, 854 (Fla. 1984) (recognizing that the “societal ideal of continued parental support for the education and training” of adult children did not create a legal duty, and characterizing a family court’s order to do so as an “indirect method of compelling unwilling divorced parents to provide college costs for their capable adult children”). In my view, every person is entitled to the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and to the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the State & Federal Constitutions.
      In this day and age, it can no longer be said that college is affordable. A parent’s compulsory obligation to educate their children ceases at age 18 under the State Constitution. By its very terms, the “age of majority” implies that a person has become self-sufficient and is responsible for his or her own financial endeavors & actions. When a minor child reaches the age of Majority, the child no longer suffers from the disabilities that previously mandated court protection, such as the inability to manage affairs or enjoy civic rights & living the American Dream. With all due respect, it’s outrageous to require any Parent to seek a Court Order to emancipate an Adult Child who has reached the age of majority. Put simply, there is no need for it. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 amended section 480(d)(1)(C) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to treat as independent any student who becomes an emancipated minor before reaching the age of majority. The specific legislative language is:
      is, or was immediately prior to attaining the age of majority, an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction in the individual’s State of legal residence
      The term “emancipation” is often used when a child reaches the age of majority or child support obligations end, but this is not the same as an “emancipated minor”. An emancipated minor becomes an adult able to sign contracts before reaching the age of majority through a court order. A court order terminating child support upon the child’s reaching the age of majority does not qualify, not even if it uses the word emancipation. To be a minor child, is to be at risk, dependent and without capacity to decide what is best for oneself. To be adult upon reaching the age of majority is to be a risk-taker, independent and with the capacity to decide what is best for oneself.
      The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Since its founding in 1776, the United States has regarded and promoted itself as an Empire of Liberty and prosperity. Any healthy adult child has the ability to go to college with or without parental help. The adult child has the ability to work & earn a living. They have the option of going to college full or part time. They have the ability to apply for student loans & pay them back in due course. They also have the ability to apply for grants. Finally, they have the ability to serve our military to help pay for college. It is true that it may be inconvenient for an adult child to pay his or her own way through private college, but there is no legal reason whatsoever why an adult child should not do so if otherwise healthy and able-bodied. An adult child is not in need of support merely because he or she is in school. A decision of parents as to whether or not the adult child should go to college & who shall

  • Debbie

    My husband and I are recently divorced, he has been paying child support for my daughter, however my daughter just turned 18 on July 12th and that support stopped. We had joint custody of her but she lived with me. Her father has encouraged her to go to college and went to the trouble of submitting her application to a college and getting her hopes up of attending this college. My daughter was accepted into the school and qualifies for financial aid through me but now that there is still money that is due for school he is washing his hands of her and says he isn’t responsible for her anymore that she is 18 and considered an adult. Is there anything that she can do? I am trying to help her however my income is only $22,000.00 compared to his $150,000. She is distraught over this. He built her up then pulled the rug out from under her. Any suggestions?

    • You might have a promissory estoppel argument. I haven’t thought it through, but it seems to me that if the child relied upon the father’s implied promise to support her college endeavors, and if she then did not pursue grants, scholarships, or other means of support she might have sought but for the implied promise, the daughter might have an actionable claim, if not in Family Court, then in circuit court. A claim like this was recently prosecuted on a contract theory (but he daughter there had a written contract with the father).

      See: DAUGHTER SUES DAD TO PAY FOR COLLEGE

      • Debbie

        So would his filling out her college application, medical forms and emails back and forth to me regarding financial aide be considered implied contract.

  • Allicyn Steverson

    I have this same issue. Please help!! This is for SC law,correct??

  • Henry

    I have been paying child support for my daughter faithfully for the last 15 years, while the mother has denied visitation for the last 5 years. When the divorce took place 15 years ago, I also began paying for a life insurance policy on myself with my ex as the owner of the policy. It was verbally agreed that this would help cover any college expenses. Now that my daughter is 18 & graduating high school in May, the ex is now planning to take me back to court to help with college tuition(incidentally, she is planning to go out of state). What are my legal rights here? Will I be obligated for another 4 years?

    • Giovanni LoPresti

      You may have a jurisdiction issue. It can only be modifed in the State where the Order was entered.

  • Giovanni

    Thank God you have Judges that follow the Constitution. Perhaps New Jersey Judges should do the same.

    The law in New Jersey that requires only divorcing and non-custodial parents to pay adult support and pay higher education costs for their adult children is unconstitutional. The Equal Protection clauses of both the federal and state constitutions provide that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1; N.J. CONST. art. I, para. 1 (“All persons . . . have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty . . . .”). To satisfy the Equal Protection Clause, a legislative classification must bear a reasonable relation to the legislative purpose sought to be achieved, the members of the class must be treated alike under similar circumstances, and the classification must rest on some rational basis.

    In cases where there is an intact family, with parents married and residing together, the statute has no application. In such cases, the parents have no legal obligation to provide support for adult children and adult children have no remedy for compelling such support. In essence, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a) permits a burden to be imposed upon one class of citizens—divorced or separated parents—that cannot in like circumstances be imposed upon married parents residing together. Parents in this latter class are thus immune from such legal liability. Likewise, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a) creates a privilege for one class of citizens—adult children of divorced or separated parents—that is not granted to children whose parents are married and residing together. In consequence, by establishing distinctions based upon the marital status of the parent, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a) violates the equal protection clauses of both New Jersey and United States Constitutions. N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)is also in direct conflict with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as it protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children’s education as they deemed fit.

    In New Jersey, the Legislature and our courts have long recognized a child’s (a young adult’s) need for higher education and that this need is a proper consideration in determining a parent’s child (adult’s) support oblation. Writing for the Court in Newburgh, Justice Pollock set forth a non-exhaustive list of twelve factors a court should consider in evaluating a claim for contribution toward the cost of higher education. See Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982). The enumerated factors are as follows:

    (1) whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education; (2) the effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education; (3) the amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education; (4) the ability of the parent to pay that cost; (5) the relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child; (6) the financial resources of both parents; (7) the commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education; (8) the financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust; (9) the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation; (10) the availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans; (11) the child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and (12) the relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child (adult).

    In the aftermath of the Newburgh Decision, the Legislature essentially approved those criteria’s when amending the support statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a). Compare N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a) (listing factors to consider in determining support) with Newburgh, supra, 88 N.J. at 545, 443 A.2d 1031 (listing factors to consider in determining payment of education expenses). Kiken v. Kiken, 149 N.J. 441, 449, 694 A.2d 557 (1997). Thus, a trial court should balance the statutory criteria of N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a) and the Newburgh factors, as well as any other relevant circumstances, to reach a fair and just decision whether and, if so, in what amount, a parent or parents must contribute to a child’s educational expenses. It can be assumed that the law in question is designed to promote the highest good.

    The New Jersey Law as it is applied to both statutory and case law, forces a burden upon one class of citizens—divorced, separated parents and non-custodial parents—that cannot in like circumstances be imposed upon married parents residing together flunks the constitutional test. It places citizens into different classes based on a criterion wholly unrelated to the statutory or case law objective, which is to assure that a college student’s need for financial support from parents is fulfilled. The law as applied to a select class of its citizens is unconstitutional. This type of law must be struck down — even if it is a good law. Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co. (Child Labor Tax Case), 259 U.S. 20, 37, 42 S. Ct. 449, 66 L. Ed. 817 (1922) (reviewing court must strike down unconstitutional law even though that law is “designed to promote the highest good. The good sought in this unconstitutional statutory and case law is an insidious feature, because it leads citizens and legislators of good purpose to promote it, without thought of the serious breach it will make in the ark of our covenant, or the harm which will come from breaking down recognized standards.”) The standard in question is the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children’s education as they deemed fit.

    The plight of an adult child of divorced parents, attending college and in need of parental support, is in no way different from the plight of an adult child of married parents, also attending college and in need of parental support. Young adults who need parental support for college and whose parents are divorced are not needier, simply because their parents are divorced, in contrast to adult children in like circumstances whose parents happen to be married.

    The young adults in the same situation whose parents are married are not less needy, simply because their parents are married. Need is need; it should not be contingent on the marital status of the needy students parents. By limiting its application to only one class of parents and young adults attending college, based not on the financial need of the adult student alone but also on the marital status of the adult students parents, New Jersey statutory and case law establishes distinctions that are wholly unrelated to the legitimate state interest that the law seeks to advance.

    The New Jersey Family Court system imposes a legal obligation on certain class of parents of college age young adults in need of support while effectively granting an immunity from such liability to intact married families of college age young adults equally in need of support, based simply on the marital status of the parents, irrespective of the actual financial needs of the student or the financial abilities of the parents. Put simply, that just doesn’t make sense. New Jersey Law egregiously placing different burdens and benefits placed on persons similarly situated violates the guarantees of equal protection. Jones v. Helms, 452 U.S. 412, 101 S. Ct. 2434 (4,5) (1981), South Central Bell Telephone Co. v. Alabama, 526 U.S. 160, 119 S. Ct. 1180 (1999), Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620, 116 S. Ct. 1620 (1996).

    A Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a similar provision mandating post-majority support as a violation of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. It reasoned that since married parents do not have to support their adult children,( as with intact families in New Jersey) it was discriminatory to force divorced parents to do so. See Curtis v. Kline, 666 A.2d 265 (Pa. 1995). A South Carolina Supreme Court held that requiring parents subject to child support order, but not other parents, to contribute to their children’s college expenses violates equal protection, see Webb v. Sowell, 387 S.C. 328, 692 S.E.2d 543 (2010).

    The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The United States Supreme Court has long recognized that the Amendment’s Due Process Clause, like its Fifth Amendment counterpart, “guarantees more than fair process.” The Clause also includes a substantive component that “provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests.”

    The liberty interest at issue in this case — the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children — is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by the Supreme Court. In Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), the Court held that the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to “establish a home and bring up children” and “to control the education of their own.” In New Jersey however, this right only applies to intact families in which they can not be forced to pay for their adult children higher educational expenses.

    A few years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), the Court again held that the “liberty of parents and guardians” includes the right “to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” The Court explained in Pierce that “the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

    In subsequent cases also, the Court have recognized the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. See, e.g., Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645 (1972) (“It is plain that the interest of a parent in the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children ‘comes to this Court with a momentum for respect lacking when appeal is made to liberties which derive merely from shifting economic arrangements'”); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205(1972) (“The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition”).

    In light of this extensive precedent, there can be no doubt that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children’s education as they deemed fit. I respectfully submit that since married parents can not be forced to support their adult children with higher education and adult support, it is discriminatory and unconstitutional to force divorced parents or noncustodial parents to do so. In this State, upon attaining the age of 18, you are considered legally an adult. Adult support must end as well as forcing divorced and non-custodial parents to pay for higher education.

    • Giovanni,

      Webb was my case. This is not my blog space, so I only just now saw your comment. Obviously I agree with your observations. Why more courts haven’t ruled this way is troublesome.

      One issue you may also want to consider is the violence such rulings do to the parent-child relationship. From my 24 years of Family Court experience, most parents actually want their children to get a college education and want to help to the extent they are able to do so. What they don’t want is to be treated like a teller machine. I have a background in the humanities, and do not begrudge any student pursuing that field of study. However, I think it is entirely appropriate for any parent being asked to pay the freight to have significant input into the decision. Otherwise the ADULT child who has a court order for college education support can treat the parent’s advice with utter disregard. So too with a parent’s right to require that the ADULT child not live off campus, or not join a fraternity, or other similar restrictions. The power of the purse is, after all, sometimes the only influence the parent has with a child over who has attained age 18 (in most states).

      And let’s not forget that we are discussing ADULT children… people who can marry, enter contracts, enlist in the military, vote in general elections, and be tried in general sessions.

      Joe Underwood

      • Giovanni

        Good point Joe

      • Joe:

        Sorry your victory only lasted 23 months. I have a daughter at Reed College that is costing me over $40,000 a year. I would hate to have a family court ordering me to pay this amount under penalty of incarceration.

  • Sherry Coleman

    My Husband has 3 children ages 12, 15 & 20. He currently pays $900.00 a month in child support for the 2 youngest and $300.00 a month into his oldest son’s 529 college plan… When he was married to his children’s mother they both contributed to this plan for around 20 years but when the market crashed 3 years ago they lost alot of the money. They were divorced 3 years ago and in the orginal divorce decree the wording was very ambiguous and she used that against him concerning what extra things he was to pay on top of the original child support so they went back to court and end up in mediation September 2010 so there is an agreement concerning college payments. The problem we are having now is his son just lost his life scholorship of $7400.00 per semester at Clemson for making a “F” in one of his classes for failing to turn in assignments. He lives on campus when Clemson University is only 15 miles from his home and he does work some in the summer but does not work through the school year. We have just got an e-mail from his ex wife Friday night informing us that we need to pay $2000.00 or more by mid August. because the money will be depleted from the 529 account and no scholorship to help…His ex-wife makes $87,000.00 at Duke power. Her home, cars, pool etc. is paid for free and clear because she had to submit financial information during mediation in September. Her Husband also works at Duke Power Nuclear station and makes alot of money. My husband and I work for the School District. He makes $62,000.00 and I make $18,000.00. I receive no child support because I have joint custody and he pays the $900.00 for child support and $300.00 for college fund. We live in a modular home and we drive used cars and we can’t even take a vaction because we can’t afford to. My husband wants to help pay but we will be living on the streets if we have to come up with thousands of dollars every semester since his son lost that life scholorship. Can this change in the law help us in anyway???
    Thanks,
    Sherry Coleman

  • Lori Ward

    I have been trying to research via web for some time now on this subject. My husband agreed to pay child child support if his daughter elected to attend college not to exceed 5 years and child reaches the age of 23yrs in his 2006 divorce agreement. His daughter is now 18 and we rarely speak with her (once her father remarried she elected to not be a part of the family). We think that she is attending a local Technical college, although we have never recieved any paperwork from her mother or herself to notify us of this, and she informed her father recently that she would be “taking a semester off” throughout the summer. I can’t locate information that confirms if it is legally ok to not pay while she’s not attending! Please help, we don’t know what to do??!!

  • Giovanni

    Lori:

    You need to speak to a family law attorney in your home state. I can tell you, that you are entitled to proof of college transcripts and attendance.

    • lori

      Thank you for your prompt reply but I live in Berkeley County, SC and was very happy when I found your website.

  • LaToya

    I am confused about this. I live in SC and my son will be turning 18 June 30th. He will graduate high school in May. I received an Emancipation letter about 3 weeks ago and returned it. My don’s father and I have never been married and his child support is court ordered. Could my son apply for college support or would I have to? Also, do we wait until his father has finished paying all back support or do we file when my son enters college in the fall? Please advise. I don’t know what to do.

  • monica

    I don’t understand how it’s said that married parents aren’t required to support their children once they enroll in college. I recently submitted financial aid forms for my daughter who will be beginning college in the Fall. The laws for financial aid states that married parents or the custodial parent (if divorced) are financially responsible to contribute to their child’s college expenses until the child is 22 or can PROVE that they have lived on their own and supported themselves for at least 1 year. Therefore, my income had to be included on her financial aid forms so that they could determine how much I am expected to contribute to her college expenses. With this being said, my ex husband’s financial obligations to his child will end at the end of this month when my daughter graduates high school but I as custodial parent am still held accountable for her EFC (expected family contribution). how is THIS fair? I feel that he should be EQUALLY responsible. He would be if were still married.

    • Alan Carter

      I for one do not feel that you have to pay for your child’s college. I paid for my own college. Yes the forms ask for your info and yes your info is used in determining the amount of financial aid BUT that doesn’t mean you have to pay that amount. Your child is 18 and a legal adult. Your child should be the one responsible for the left over amount.

  • Carl

    I got divorced in South Carolina 11 years ago. I have two daughters that I am paying child support for. I looked over my divorce decree and it does not state a date that the child support stops. My oldest daughter turned 18 and has graduated high school. I have asked her to attend college and she says she is not interested. My question is, can I reduce the child support to half what the decree states with her being 18? Will I have to go to court to ask for it to be reduced or stopped for the oldest child? Thanks for any help.

  • Lauren

    I just turned 18 June 6th and my father has filed so he would quit having to pay child support. He knows I am going to college and I need his help along with my mothers to go to college my mother is willing to help, he is not. My question is, is there a way I could get him to continue paying child to help me through college?

  • Bill David

    My daughter is 18. She recently left her mothers home in SC and moved in with a married couple outside the state of SC. This couple encouraged her to get enrolled in a local high scholl and she did. I would like to know if my court ordered child support can be stopped and or redirected to the people she is living with?

  • Giovanni

    I would ask that the Court Order be modified to send payments directly to your daughter until she completes High School. I would also ask for an Order to obtain copies of all school records.

    Good Luck!

  • James

    My son turns 18 today. He attends college in South Carolina as he graduated high school in 2012. I live in Kentucky and would like to know how I go about ending child support. Do I need to be present in SC to file a motion, or is there a way for me to handle the situation from here in KY?

  • Marie

    My husband’s daughter turned 18 and he agreed to continue paying child support since he was told that she will be attending college in the Fall. We just found out that his daughter has decided not to attend college after all, and may enroll sometime “in the future”. He doesn’t mind paying the support if it will assist her in getting through college but he doesn’t want to continue to pay if she’s not going. Our question is this: if he is granted termination of support (via the court, due to her being 18 years of age and having graduated high school) and then she decides to go to college at a later date will he be required to pay support again at that time?

  • Tamara

    I received child support for my daughter until she turn 18. Now she is in college and her dad refuse to help with tuition. Is there and I can do about it.

  • Jose Gonzalez

    Well for me I meet a girl at a young age we was 15 years old thing ain’t work out with us. She returned 17 years later to tell me she needs child support because she needs help.i was surprised married with 2 younger children so we went to court I took a DNA the child was mine so she tried to tell the judge I been in this young women’s life she was trying to get 18 years old child support trying to say I left the child it was a mess so I prove to the judge that she was lying he ruled on my side he order her to give the transcript ,address and a cell phone number to contact 2014 its now 2016 since 2014 she apply for full time class but the transcript show part time credit’s the number is a app that I have to leave my name and it would transfer me to this young lady 20years old I guess they want nothing to do with me they want the money that they do want .now I got injured lost my job and I still aren’t able to return to work yet now I’m in 6k arrears still doing therapy and now she’s taking me back to court for the arrears it never ends

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