When a couple in California decides to separate or divorce, effectively ending their marriage, the issue of child support may come into play. Child support is defined as payment to the custodial parent to help care for the child. Caring for the child often ranges from assisting in paying for necessities like health care, clothing, shelter and the like. Things that are necessary for the child's growth and well-being are usually things that are covered by child support. In most cases, the courts determine the amount of support that is paid based on all pertinent facts and circumstances available to them at the time a judgment on the matter is entered.
Recently, there has been a growing debate over whether educational costs beyond what is mandated by law are privy to a decision under child support criteria. Education beyond high school has been deemed by some states to be an extracurricular expense that is not a part of the child support equation. Basically, the parent paying child support is under no obligation to pay for their child's tuition for college. This is the case in California as well as a few other states.
Although divorced parents may not be ordered to pay for their child's higher education, this does not take away from what child support covers. Everything that goes with schooling prior to college is subject to being a part of child support. This includes but is not limited to everyday expenses as it relates to the car and custody of the child. There is a child support formula that the courts look at when making such determinations. That being said, the court will also be guided by the best interest of the child standard in all child support matters.
To date, divorced parents are not obliged to pay for college for their children. However there are a number of states that are looking to revisit this matter.