Preparing for college during divorce

On behalf of The Walters Law Group, Ltd. posted in Divorce on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

Illinois is a state with several prestigious universities. As such, parents who are planning to divorce may wonder how the proceedings can affect their children’s future college educations, especially where the children too young to be making college plans. There are a few helpful tips that can help divorcing parents ensure that college expenses do not become an issue when the time comes.

At the outset, parents should negotiate college expenses as part of the divorce settlement regardless of the children’s ages. Even though financial changes may make it necessary to revisit the issue as the time draws nearer, it is advisable to have at least a starting point written into the divorce decree. That can help avoid a situation where the divorce decree is silent, and one parent feels the need to foot the entire bill in order to avoid the time, stress and expense of going back to court.

Another important step is to put funds into an educational savings plan to ensure the money cannot be used for any other purpose. This stops either spouse from withdrawing those funds when seeking some extra cash or facing non-college expenses. One father reported not putting earmarked funds into a protected account and losing $45,000 of that money to attorney’s fees related to the divorce. It is also a good idea for parents to discuss who should fill out college financial aid forms in advance. Normally, the parent with whom the child spends the most time will be the one required to submit financial information.

When preparing to divorce, a lawyer may be able to help a parent consider college expenses and other issues that may not seem relevant at the time. It may be possible to negotiate these issues as part of a settlement to avoid a problem in the future.

Source: Reuters, “CORRECTED-YOUR MONEY-Three things divorced parents need to know about college“, Geoff Williams, March 03, 2014