My question is whether I should make a legal claim against my father so that he will have to pay for my studies. According to the law, if a child lives separately from his father, he can make a legal claim for payment of schooling until the child is a certain age. I feel badly about doing it, but he refuses to help me and leaves me no other choice, and I know he has the money to pay. I had planned to pay him back after I finished. I am confused about what I should do.

Dear Friend,

The laws regarding your situation vary from country to country, and even from one region to another within countries. In some regions the laws require that a parent pay for living expenses and for college expenses up until age 21, 22, or even 25. Many factors are taken into consideration, including the student’s grades, the parents’ income, and whether or not the parents are married, divorced, or never married. On the other hand, in many regions a parent’s legal financial responsibility ends when the child is eighteen, or when he finishes high school.

You believe that the law in your region does require a parent to pay for college expenses. However, since we do not know where you live, we cannot verify that fact. An attorney can give you that kind of legal advice.

As to whether it is right or wrong to file a claim against your father, there is no clear answer. You do not reveal what kind of relationship you have with your father, nor if you even communicate with him. Certainly your relationship with him will deteriorate if you decide to go forward with a legal claim.

We also have no way to know how responsible and diligent you have been with your studies. You may have failed or dropped classes, or simply not put in the effort required to do well. On the other hand, you may have been an excellent student.

You need to seek advice from people who know you well. What does your mother say? If you have siblings, what do they think? Is there a counselor, professor, or youth leader who can guide you? Listen to those people!

If your parents were never married or were divorced, and if your father did not contribute half of your living expenses while you were growing up, then possibly it is time for him to do his share. On the other hand, if he was financially responsible in the past but has only stopped because of your irresponsible actions or poor grades, then his actions may be justified.

The only one who truly knows what is best for you is God. He has a plan for your life, and He can give you the wisdom and clarity that you are seeking. But only those who have a personal relationship with Him are able to recognize His voice when He speaks to their consciences. To begin a personal relationship, ask God to forgive you of your sins in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. Then start reading the Bible and pray every day, asking God to guide you. And listen to your conscience and the advice of others whom you trust.

We wish you the best,