Options for Parents Requesting Academic Records when Paying Child Support for College-Age Children in NJ
Discover the Rights Parents Have When Paying Child Support for College Students in Ocean and Monmouth County, NJ
Children of divorce go through just as tough of a time as their parents do. Typical divorces are long, drawn-out, and contentious periods of time that affect the entire family. This is due to many reasons, ranging from the animosity of the parties towards each other to the lack of communication between the parties. If there are children involved, and depending on the age of the child, this may add another level of dispute between the parties and make everything a little more complicated.
College-aged children, or children attending post-secondary educational institutions, come with a particular issue affecting many parties of divorce. This particular issue only affects parties of divorce who are legally obliged to pay child support for their college-aged child. Parents who are paying child support and are not the physical custodian of the child have certain rights when it comes to their child’s education.
Parents Who Pay Child Support and the Right to Access Children’s Educational Records in NJ
Parents paying child support for their college-aged children have the right to review certain educational records of their child, but not all of the records. Children still maintain privacy rights, especially if they are over the age of 18; however, there exists case law establishing the rights of support-paying parents in these instances. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act states that students have a legal right to privacy to control who sees their educational records and who does not see their educational records. FERPA was intended to give students autonomy over their educational careers. However, in the New Jersey case of Van Brunt v. Van Brunt, the court established that FERPA can be set aside when it comes to parents paying child support for their children attending college. Non-custodial, child-support-paying parents have the right to review attendance records, college transcripts, course credit counts, and overall proof of enrollment.
Why Some Parents Refuse to Send College Transcripts to the Paying Parent
As previously mentioned, divorces can obviously be very contentious. A parent may be hesitant to send their child’s educational records to the support-paying parent for several reasons. The first of which may be that since the divorce was particularly difficult for all of those involved, the non-paying parent may not want to “stir the pot” or start an argument where one should not start. This could lead to unnecessary litigation or confrontations. Another reason could be a lack of trust between the former spouses or that the non-paying parent wants to make things extremely difficult for the paying parent. Whatever the reason may be, parents who pay child support for their college-aged children are entitled to receive this information, and it usually takes an experienced attorney for them to obtain it.
Are School Records Handled Differently if a Child is Emancipated in New Jersey?
When a child becomes emancipated, it means that they are no longer claimed as a dependent by their parents or are no longer completely reliant on their parents for basic support. An emancipated child retains the rights provided to regular students who are not supported by their parents, which means that they can pick and choose who is allowed to see their educational records. If a child is “unemancipated” or is still reliant on the child support being paid by one of their parents, then they do not have the right to pick and choose who can see some of their educational records.
Important Considerations for Parents Paying Child Support for College-Aged Children
The financial obligations of child support are simple and intended to be easily honored. These obligations include that every child support payment be made in full and on time in order to ensure that the child is supported in the way that the court has ordered. Keeping up with these legal and financial obligations is the very least a parent can do to support their child in college. However, parents in this situation should also be involved in their child’s education. Parents should attend all parent-teacher conferences, they should help with homework, should encourage extracurricular activities, and should provide overall moral support to promote the success of their child in college.
If You Have Difficulties Accessing School Reports as a Child Support Paying Parent at the Jersey Shore, Speak to an Attorney Today
These instances are very specific, yet they happen more often than you would think. By hiring a solid family law attorney who has dealt with these specific matters, you will not only ensure that your rights as a parent are accurately and adequately represented, but you can rest assured that lines of communication remain open. At Bronzino Law Firm, our well-versed family lawyers are master communicators and will be able to communicate your interests in an appropriate fashion without aggravating the healing wounds of a divorce. We seek to resolve disputes, negotiate creative solutions, and ease tensions with the strength of the law and experience on our side.
Contact our offices if you need assistance with obtaining your child’s educational records as a child support payor or if you are facing other matters involving child support, custody, emancipation, or a child support modification. We serve clients throughout Southern New Jersey, including in Tinton Falls, Lacey, Beach Haven, Rumson, Middletown, Toms River, Monmouth Beach, Mantoloking, and other Monmouth County and Ocean County areas. Consultations are free and available at your convenience, so call (732) 812-3102 today to learn more.