Category Archives:Settlement agreement

Who Should Pay for College Tuition After Divorce?

With the state of the economy and the exponentially increasing cost of college tuition, many parents are finding themselves struggling with how they are going to pay for their children to go to college.  For parents going through divorce, the situation is even more complicated and emotional.  After all, for divorcing parents, it’s not just a matter of “how,” but also “who” is going to pay for college tuition.
keith's child support
Keith’s Child Support by Sean Durham

Although state laws vary, under many of them, the obligation for child support ends when a child reaches eighteen years of age.  Beyond that cut-off, are divorced parents obligated to pay for their children’s college education?

If you are contemplating divorce and have children who are –or will be –attending college, keep in mind that unless ordered by the courts, there is typically no legal obligation to pay college tuition.  Therefore, in the absence of a court order, one of the best ways to plan for the future is to include the obligation in your divorce settlement agreement. 
Divorce settlement agreements should specifically include a written college support agreement in addition to any other child support agreements.  A college support agreement is a written plan for how the parents will handle sending their child to college.  
A college support agreement typically includes details relating to college expenses.  Parents can divide the costs utilizing a percentage system, set out exact amounts each parent will pay or divide it up in terms of type of costs.  When discussing costs relating to college, in addition to tuition you may want to consider room and board, books, extracurricular activities and a monthly allowance.  Additionally, such an agreement can include details beyond financial terms.  Restrictions or requirements can be set on the type of college, the distance away from home, whether there can be or should be religious requirements and so much. 
Take the time early on to alleviate concerns over your family’s future monetary and emotional well-being by devising cost-effective strategies to pay for college expenses.
Legal updates brought to you by Orange County and Riverside Law firm of Don Ho, LLP. 
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