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Planning for college costs during a divorce

When New York couples decide to divorce, the financial effects of ending the marriage can be particularly serious. However, these consequences aren’t necessarily limited to the divorcing spouses; they can affect their children as well. When parents make the decision to split, it can be an important time to review financial plans in order to protect the children’s college funds and develop a strategy for savings. College tuition is already a significant concern for many parents, especially as the costs of attending a university continue to skyrocket.

However, careful planning can help to ease the burden of paying for school, even when parents have divorced. Because few people want to consider divorce when they are married, 66 percent of couples do not have a financial plan to handle a separation or partner’s death. As a result, plans to pay for the children’s university education are often based on the idea that both parents will be working together to save the needed funds. In the 2017-2018 academic year, tuition, room and board and fees cost an average of $20,770 for a public university and $46,950 for a private university annually.

Many students pay for a university through a combination of parental assistance, student loans, scholarships and grants. Financial aid packages are often calculated based on parents’ participation, so it can be important to plan. Some parents may negotiate college payments as part of the divorce settlement itself while others may focus on more immediate needs like child support for minor children.

Paying for a university can come after child support and spousal support obligations have come to an end, but it is important for launching a child’s next stage of life. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing parent to include negotiations about college costs as part of the divorce settlement.