The cost of a college education, including tuition, living expenses, books and more, has grown significantly over the past 20 years. The price tag has risen to the point that for most students, paying for college is not possible without their parents’ help. Legally, parents are not obligated to pay for their kid’s education beyond the required K-12 years.
If you and your spouse are committed to setting aside money for their college education, you may already have a plan in place, or an account started. Many parents begin saving as early as the preschool years, but how do you keep the ball rolling after getting divorced?
Deciding who should pay into your child’s college account — and how much each should pay per month — is best negotiated and documented during the during divorce process. The most equitable way to determine the amount each of you should contribute to their education is to base it on your respective income levels.
You’re Asking the Right Questions
There are two common methods parents use to pay for their kid’s college education. Option one is to establish a trust account early on and contribute to it during their childhood. The goal is to invest the money and grow the fund over the years until it’s enough to cover the costs of college when the time comes.
Option two is to pay their monthly tuition and expenses out of current income during years that your child attends college. A hybrid approach can be used in the case of a shortfall in the educational trust fund, whereby the two of you agree to make up the difference out of pocket. Keep in mind that the plan you and your spouse have chosen may need to be amended due to your circumstances at the time of your divorce.
Hashing out agreements about this, and other financial issues, often leaves couples with a great number of questions about divorce. Before making any decisions or commitments, make sure to consult with an experienced family law attorney. They can help you through the process of negotiating during divorce and educate you on how to protect your children’s and your best interests.
Taking the Right Action
Navigating divorce is much easier with an experienced attorney by your side. Our divorce attorneys in Orange County practice collaboration, transparency and compassion when helping our clients through the dissolution of their marriage. Divorce doesn’t have to be combative and bitter. Tools such as mediation can help keep the proceedings as brief and conflict-free as possible.
Would you like more information about topics like what to expect from your divorce process or who will be paying for college or who gets the ring after a divorce? We’re happy to provide answers to those and other pressing questions regarding what to expect after your marriage is over.