In child support talks, don’t forget about college tuition

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Friday, March 7, 2014.

Child support discussions are among the most important aspects of a divorce. Setting child support appropriately will ensure that the children’s best interests are protected and neither parent will face financial hardship. Sometimes, however, parents forget to address certain aspects of child support, which can create problems in the future.

Today, we are talking about college tuition. College tuition is easy to overlook when your children are young. However, addressing college tuition during your divorce rather than waiting until your child is considering what school to attend will ensure that expectations are properly set and that you and your ex are financially prepared.

A good way to approach college tuition during divorce is to agree to put money into an account that can only be used for college expenses, like a 529 plan. Savings that are kept in such a plan can only be used for tuition and other college-related costs, ensuring that neither you nor your ex can withdraw money for other purposes. Plus, it is tax-free.

Next, if you and your ex share custody equally, you will need to determine which one of you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. Usually, it makes most sense for the parent who earns less money to fill out the form. However, if custody is not shared equally, the primary custodian will be required to fill it out.

If your children are still in diapers, working out a college tuition plan may seem strange. However, tuition is rarely cheap, so if you plan to foot the bill, it is important to start saving as early as possible. Starting the conversation with your ex during your divorce will ensure that you both are on the same page about how you’re going to pay when it comes time.

Source: Reuters, “Four things divorced parents need to know about college,” Geoff Williams, Feb. 28, 2014

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