How can divorced parents navigate college costs?

Choosing the right college for your child is often challenging. In addition to decisions about the quality of the education received, there are also concerns about the cost of tuition. These concerns are typically brought up during a divorce, as both parents will likely share the responsibility of funding college.

What happens if you and your soon-to-be ex spouse disagree with financial matters related to education? Kiplinger explains how to address these issues the best way possible, so your child has access to a quality academic experience.

Limit college contributions

The difference in tuition between an in-state college and a prestigious university can be startling. As a result, many divorcing couples include limitations in agreements regarding how much each must contribute to college tuition. While ensuring that your child receives a good education is important for their future, it is simply not possible for some parents to make the contributions required at a non-state funded private institution.

Seek out financial aid

Do not assume that your child is not eligible for financial aid simply because of you or your ex’s income. In this case, have the parent with the lower income complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Not only will this improve your child’s chances of receiving aid, it may also increase the amount of funding available to them.

Be careful with 529 plans

529 savings accounts allow you to contribute to your child’s college funds, with the possibility of contributions being tax-deductible up to a certain amount. However, it is possible for parents to deduct funds from the account as they see fit. If you have this concern about your ex, terms can be added to your divorce agreement that explicitly state how these funds can be used. You can also request that funds be transferred to a 529 account in your name, which would protect them from misuse by your former spouse.

Financial issues are often the hardest to work out during divorce, especially when they involve the care of your children. By taking the right approach, you can ensure your child has the financial support necessary to attend college.

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