Divorces are rough on everyone involved. Even if you and your ex-spouse have a relatively amicable relationship, there are undoubtedly troubled periods for the two of you and your children. One issue that often affects divorced parents is how to pay for college. Whether or not you will be splitting college costs with your ex, it is important for you to have a plan in place for your child or children’s education, especially if high school graduation is drawing nigh.
In this guide, you will see a few tips that are designed to help divorced parents start crafting college payment plans that work for their needs. Remember, though, you should consult a family law attorney or a divorce attorney before you put anything in writing. Getting an expert’s opinion will give you confidence that you are taking the right steps.
Understand the Divorce Laws Where You Live.
Every state has unique divorce laws that pertain to child support and college payments. In certain states, such as Washington State and Utah, for instance, both custodial and non-custodial parents are required to financially support their children in college. It does bear noting, though, that each situation is unique and even if you reside in one of these states, extenuating circumstances could apply in your case. This is why it is so important to have a divorce lawyer assisting you throughout the process.
Look at Dour Divorce Decree.
When your divorce was finalized, the decree probably includes some information about how college payments will be handled by you and your ex-spouse. Your divorce attorney or family law expert should have discussed this topic with you at the time. If, though, your decree doesn’t include any guidelines for college savings, you may find yourself in a mediation session with your ex to work out the details.
Work Together With Your Ex, if Possible.
If you and your ex-spouse have a functional, co-parenting relationship, there is no reason you can’t sit down together to plan how you are going to pay for college for your child or children. You may want to create a legally binding document with your attorneys present or you may choose to create terms completely on your own. Only you know your situation, though it is always recommended to seek legal advice regarding matters like this.
Take a Look at Tax Credits.
Depending on who your child or children live with the majority of the time, there may be some tax credits available to either you or your ex-spouse. A family law attorney can help you understand how to utilize these to your advantage when it comes to paying for higher education. Furthermore, you should consider filing a FAFSA application even before your child leaves for school. This will help you understand what you are going to be required to contribute to his or her education on an annual basis.
This is only a glimpse into how divorced parents can help pay for college expenses. As mentioned above, no two situations are identical and only you, your ex-spouse, and your respective attorneys can come up with a plan that truly suits everyone’s needs in your case. If you are interested in learning more about paying for college while in a divorce, contact Andrew Norton today!