Dealing With Your Child’s Education Expenses After Divorce
If you divorce with children, you’re going to have to have an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse at least until your child is 18 years old – and maybe even longer. At this age, your child will likely be focused on college. Each parent has feelings about what is best for their children in terms of education. Some are OK with public school, while others feel that private school is better. Your child may have their heart set on a private university, but the extra cost doesn’t seem worth it, so you’re arguing with the other parent about public vs. private college.
There are many things to consider when deciding on what type of school is better and who will foot the cost. When it comes to a K-12 private school, the costs can be even more than college – as much as $65,000 a year in some areas. However, there are some benefits to private school. The quality of education is often much better, so if your child has learning disabilities or has struggled in public school, private school may be the better choice. Plus, if your child has always gone to private school, then it wouldn’t be fair to move him or her to public school after a divorce.
Even public school can be costly for some families, from school supplies to lunches to fundraisers to field trips. And even if your child goes on to college and chooses a public university in your home state, the tuition can still top $10,000 a year.
Surely, one parent shouldn’t be forced to pay for all this on their own. So how do divorced parents come to an agreement on education expenses?
Ideally, this should be outlined in the divorce agreement. This agreement should set a cap at tuition contributions for each parent and outline whether or not the parents can choose where their child attends college.
If no such agreement is in place, then it may be up to each parent to decide what they can afford. A 529 plan can help parents save up for college, offering tax-free growth. Financial aid may also be available, so regardless of your income, be sure to fill out the forms. Only the custodial parent is required to fill out the forms, so this can definitely work to a divorced person’s advantage.
In any case, if you are divorcing and your children are under the age of 18, start planning for college now. By discussing a plan with your ex-spouse now, you can be better prepared once your child graduates from high school.
Seek Legal Help
College is expensive and it’s often a huge debate among divorced parents. They may find it difficult to determine who pays what and how to afford this expense.
Discussions about education can get nasty. Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you understand the requirements based on state law, your divorce agreement and/or your prenuptial agreement. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling 954-764-4330.