Miscellaneous Child Support Issues
Maryland courts have no authority to order either parent to provide financial support to his or her child after they have reached the age of majority and graduated from high school. There is no special exception to this rule, even if the child is living at home with one parent and attending classes at the community college. The only way to create the authority for the court to order a contribution to college education of a child is if the parties agreed to contribute to their child’s college education in a separation agreement. If parties agree to this provision in a legally binding contract, then the provision is enforceable.
The court in Witt v. Ristaino, 118 Md. App. 144, 701 A. 2d 1227, provided a nonexhaustive list of factors for the court to consider when determining whether to order parties to contribute to private school education for minor children. The list created by the court is the following: 1) The number of years the child has been in attendance at that particular school, 2) The child’s performance while in the private school, 3) Family history: whether the family has a tradition of attending a particular school or whether there are other family members currently attending the school, 4) Parents’ choice to send the child to the school prior to their divorce, 5) Any particular factor that may exist in a specific case that might impact upon the child’s best interest, and 6) Parent’s ability to pay for the schooling.