Vanderbilt Law Review

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This note seeks to determine whether a college education is a legal necessary, or perhaps it would be better to say for what purposes it may be necessary. Then we shall consider what consequences may flow from calling it a necessary, and how intelligent legal planning can achieve the most favorable consequences. Controversy over whether a college education is a necessary has centered primarily in two areas. The first major area is the divorce situation in which the court is petitioned to include in the support decree a sum for the college education of the child. The second area involves suits against minors to enforce their contractual obligations for advanced education. In either of these two litigational settings, if the court finds that a college education is a necessary then it will impose upon the parents a legal obligation to provide it, since it is well-accepted that parents have a legal obligation to provide their children with necessaries. In addition, in the event that a determination is made that a legal obligation exists on the part of the parents, various tax consequences will follow. Therefore, this note, after first determining under what circumstances, if any, a college education is a necessary, will investigate several relevant, and possible common, tax consequences resulting from the creation of the legal obligation. Finally, the note will conclude with a brief examination of the actions available to enforce an existent obligation to supply a college education.