Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The Alabama Supreme Court overturned twenty-four years of precedent by ruling last week that divorced parents’ child support obligations do not include college expenses for adult children. Before the ruling, Alabama courts could order divorced parents to pay college expenses for children past the age of majority. Alabama law had no corresponding obligation for parents to pay postminority college expenses outside of divorce proceedings. Last week in In Re Christopher, the Alabama Supreme Court decided that the word “children” in the state’s child support statute means persons under the age of majority. (Ala. Code § 30-3-1). Alabama’s legislature reduced the age of majority from 21 to 19 in 1975, but the Alabama high court had continued to require noncustodial divorced parents to pay their children’s college expenses. That obligation has now ended. Read the opinion in In Re Christopher here.