In April 2010, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that unmarried or divorced parents could not be ordered to pay their children's college expenses. This ruling, based on equal protection grounds, reversed about 30 years worth of law. At that time, the Court ruled that ordering divorced parents to pay for college expenses when married parents could not be held to the same requirement resulted in different treatment that was unconstitutional.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court changed it's mind again. In McLeod vs. Starnes, the justices determined that the 2010 decision improperly applied the test for determining whether the equal protection clause had been violated. The Court went on to find that the state has an interest in ensuring young adults are educated, and therefore, there is a rational reason to order divorced parents to pay for their children's college expenses.
This ruling is important for any parent who is considering divorcing his or her spouse, and particularly for those with children in high school who are academically driven and expected to attend college.