It has been reported that divorced parents are required to pay $16,000 toward their estranged daughter’s college tuition. Apparently, the parents have not seen their daughter in two years after she moved out of her mother’s house. The parents claim that they are going to appeal the decision. What is more interesting about this case is that the child herself filed the motion to compel her parents to contribute toward her college expenses

The judge cited the case Newburgh v. Arrigo, which deals with college contribution in New Jersey. As I previously discussed, the case sets forth the factors the Court must consider when determining divorced parents’ responsibility toward college contributions. In my opinion, the biggest factor that must pass muster on appeal for this case is “the child’s relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance.” The child no longer lives with her parents and they have not spoken in quite some time. However, as set forth in Gac v. Gac, “A relationship between a non-custodial parent and a child is not required for the custodial parent or the child to ask the non-custodial parent for financial assistance to defray college expenses.”

At this point I have not been able to read the judge’s whole opinion, so it is hard to know whether all of the Newburgh factors were properly considered for the appeal. It will be interesting to see where this case goes given the amount of media attention it has garnered.