Planning for a child’s college education can be difficult enough, but when parents who are trying to plan for their child’s future are divorced or separated, a whole new set of unique challenges are present. The separated parents may have differing views on their child’s post-secondary education goals and needs, and different ideas about college in general. In order to alleviate concerns over your family’s future, you need to plan ahead of time to devise communicative and cost-effective strategies to pay for college expenses.
It is certainly possible for divorcing couples to work through this and come to an agreement, but communication is extremely important. Planning ahead, before a divorce is even a thought, is the best way to approach this stage in your lives, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen, and the planning begins after a divorce has been finalized. Together each spouse must collaborate and reach mutually agreeable terms regarding the funding or partial funding of their child’s college education.
During your divorce, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Glendale family law attorney. They will assist you with information on your child’s right to educational support even after the age of majority or other options for private agreements.
When discussing a child’s college education after a divorce, both parents need to address:
– Each parent’s financial resources
– Each parent’s expectations for their children’s education
– The children’s financial resources
– The child’s aptitude, ability, goals and interests
Prior to reaching a settlement, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse should sit down and evaluate your financial situation and what it will look like after the divorce. You need to discuss all possible options for your children’s college funding, including savings plans, tuition plans, loans, grants, scholarships, and more.
Depending on the proximity of your divorce to the start of your child’s college application dates, you need to determine how your divorce will impact your child’s eligibility for financial aid. Research how each college determines and calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with two separate incomes for each parent. Your child will receive more financial aid with a lower EFC. Be aware that any changes to your income or family situation (re-marrying, job loss, etc.) may alter your child’s eligibility.
It is important that you research your state’s divorce laws that are applicable to post-secondary education child support so that you know what kind of assistance you can receive when financially planning for your child’s higher education. You can work with a family law attorney at The Sampair Group to formulate college support arrangements between you and your former spouse, which will outline who is responsible for which expenses (tuition, room and board, travel, etc.).
It is very important that you do not procrastinate on these kind of plans and discussions. Always be sure to involve your child in conversations, since it is their education that is the focal point. Make them aware of any of their financial responsibilities as well, and empower your children with the confidence to experience a higher education while enhancing their money management skills and personal responsibilities as an adult.