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How to address college costs for the kids during divorce

A crucial element of divorcing with children is addressing their needs, and those needs change as children get older.

If you have a child nearing college age, you will need to address college costs with your ex-spouse.

Questions to consider about your finances

Start by discussing your finances. Consider these important questions:

  • Can you afford to make equal contributions to college financing?
  • Can you draw from other resources, such as student loans or scholarships?
  • Should you set a cap for college expenses, such as only covering the cost of in-state tuition at a state school?

Consider all the potential expenses, including tuition, room and board, supplies, books, allowance and transportation.

Things to address in writing

Draft an agreement if you prefer to have everything in writing. It should address your financial plan. For example, you can agree to split costs equally or proportionally to your separate incomes. You may way to include any consensus on the level of commitment. You can even dedicate an asset to the college fund to offset some of the expenses or establish a savings account to which you can both make contributions.

Professionals who can help

If you prefer to be more thorough in your approach, consider hiring professionals who can provide the tools to create a solid plan for college expenses. For example, a financial planner can advise you on ways to save. A college advisor can help you find schools that fit everyone’s needs.

Remember, plans can change. Your child may decide that college is not the path they prefer.