Yahoo Answers is shutting down on May 4th, 2021 (Eastern Time) and beginning April 20th, 2021 (Eastern Time) the Yahoo Answers website will be in read-only mode. There will be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services, or your Yahoo account. You can find more information about the Yahoo Answers shutdown and how to download your data on this help page.

Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 1 decade ago

How would the courts justify this?

If you're 18 years old your parents can legally kick you out of the house given they use proper eviction procedures.

I'm having trouble understanding the justification of court order "college" child support.

My state of NJ states that if you're in school at least half-time one of the parents will be ordered to pay until the age of 23.

I'm having trouble understanding how this can be legally enforced? Many other states are hopping on the band wagon but many have a lesser age limit like 21 or 22, NJ is 23 which is ridiculous.

I just don't understand how a parents could lose in court if they challenged the constitutionality of mandating support for their now adult (child) who is over 18 and responsible for their own actions.

Do you think the outlook on mandating college support will grow or diminish? I think while the intent of mandating college support on a parent after the age of 18 is great, it goes against every thing the laws and norms of the U.S. stand for, no?

Do you agree that a father or in a rare instance a mother should go to jail for failure to pay college support for their adult son or daughter? This whole scenario doesn't target CS as a minor, it only questions a states ability to mandate support payments after the age of 18. I think while the intent is good, it's a clear abuse of power.


There are laws in 10 states that permit courts to order parents to pay some portion of a child's post-secondary educational expenses. Two other states extend the age of majority to a child's 21st birthday for child support purposes, thus permitting support orders to cover any child up to that age.

Outside of these 12 states, courts have issued conflicting rulings on the authority of judges to order child support payments after the age of majority. For example, judges in New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, and South Carolina have found this authority in those states' general child support laws. But Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to order divorced parents to support offspring after they reach adulthood.

3 Answers

  • Sage
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Agreed. There is no logic to the system. Once the law recognizes that a person is an adult at age 18, there should no further legal obligation for support. There may be a moral obligation to support a child through college (and maybe graduate school), but no justification exists for enforcing that moral obligation by court order. This whole doctrine comes from well-meaning idiots who love to be generous with other people's money.

    Could somebody successfully challenge this rule on a constitutional basis? Probably not. Courts frequently award spousal support in divorce cases, and the recipient of spousal support is an adult. What is the justification for that? The theory is that marriage creates some obligations (defined by the law) which the courts may enforce. The same theory could be applied to paying for a college education of an adult child.

  • 1 decade ago

    In all Honesty Sir I don't live in the USA and have no help whats so ever,

    But I would just like to show my support for your opinion,

    I am a 17 year old but I completely agree with you..

    why should a parent have to do this for a child who is now an adult,

    If I was to leave home or be evicted at 18, why should my parents have to pay me, when I am an adult and able to get a job.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have often wondered this myself. If two married parents have every legal right to make the choice of whether or not to pay for their child's college or support him/her after the age of 18, why should the rule be any different just because the child's parents are unmarried? I fully agree, as a parent, you have a moral responsibility to help your child get started in life to the best of your ability, which may include paying for college, but moral responsibility is not legal responsibility. It's a CHOICE to send your child to college, not a legal obligation. So, if this is the case for married parents, why shouldn't it be the case for unmarried parents as well?

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.