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Keeping higher education in mind after divorce

We enjoy helping our Ohio divorce clients through some of the most trying times in their lives. As attorneys, we are charged with being legal advocates as well as de-facto financial counselors. This means we help our clients understand the future financial implications of their decisions, and we help reach agreements that will serve their best interests.

One important, yet overlooked aspect of financial settlements is planning for college education. As a married couple, the prospect of supporting a child in college (whether it be completely or partially) is reasonable. However, divorcing parents may find it very difficult to do so, given the additional burdens of running a household on one income. 

Nevertheless, there are a number of ways that divorcing parents can help their kids afford a college education.

One way is to reach a stipulation on child support and how it may be used towards school expenses. As a matter of law, parents are not obligated to support a child financially once he or she reaches the age of majority (age 18). However, college expenses commonly outpace a young adult's earning potential. If parents agree on a measure of extended support, this may help defray some of those cost.

Another way is to agree to continue contributions to the child's 529 plan. Some couples have considered this option as a compromise to higher child support amounts, because they believe part of supporting a child is putting something away for their future. With college tuition growing every year, there is a value to putting away a certain amount each month that will keep pace with these costs.

If you have questions about options for college funding, an experienced family law attorney can help.

Source: US News, Discuss college savings during the divorce process, April 30, 2013

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