Paying For Your Child’s College Expenses During Or After A Divorce

College expenses are one of the more common issues that parties litigate after their divorce is finalized.  Here are some things that you should know about paying for your child’s college expenses during or after your divorce:

  • Include College Expenses Language in Divorce Decree: No matter the age of your child, your Marital Settlement Agreement or Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage should include provisions dealing with college expenses for your children.  This will allow you to raise the issue later, if necessary.

  • File a Petition for College Expenses BEFORE Your Child Begins College: You must request that your spouse or ex-spouse contribute to your child’s college expenses BEFORE your child begins college.  If you wait until your child has been enrolled for a year or until after they have graduated, you may be out of luck, at least as to the expenses that have already been incurred.

  • When to “Reserve” the Issue of College Expenses: Some people choose to “reserve” the issue of college expenses until the child or children are ready to attend college.  This is a good option particularly if the child is young and the parties do not know what their financial situation will be down the line.

  • When to Specify College Expense Contribution:  Some people choose to specify who will pay what amount, if any, of the child’s college expenses in their divorce paperwork.  This is a good option if the child is nearing college age and the parties have relatively stable income.  This option also helps to avoid future litigation.

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