Alabama Supreme Court Issues Major Divorce Ruling

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Montgomery, Ala.

The Alabama Supreme Court has reversed a 24-year-old precedent and ruled that a judge may not require a non-custodial parent in a divorce case to pay college costs for children over the age of 19.

The court's 6-2 ruling reversed a decision issued in 1989 that said a judge could order a non-custodial parent to pay college costs past age 19.

In a decision written by Chief Justice Roy Moore, the justices said the 24-year-old precedent was not based on state law.

The court said its ruling Friday will not undo court orders for college support that are already final, but it will apply to future cases, including those that are pending.

The ruling came in a Limestone County case where a mother was ordered to help pay for college.