Everyone is aware of how expensive colleges/universities are in Southern California, and even in Riverside/Corona, and there are many general self-help guides for parents to help plan. What about divorced parents? A recent article by Geoff Williams in Reuters discusses a few tips for divorced parents trying to plan for their child’s education. We share his tips below.
Childcare financial planning for divorced parents is a piece of cake compared to figuring out who will pay what in college. Here are a few tips for divorced or separated parents with kids that off to college:
1. Negotiate college during the divorce. No one forgets custody schedules, spousal support, etc. when going through a divorce. But paying for college seems to be one thing many couples forget—and it’s not a small oversight. Some universities are $200,000+ for four years. That’s not the type of money you want to fight over a few years after your divorce has calmed down. Our attorneys will remind clients to discuss paying for college, but if yours don’t (like many), be sure to bring it up.
2. Secure a college fund. If you’ve been saving for your child’s education, you need to ensure that those funds are only used for the education—and a divorce can make anything messy. Worst-case scenario (and it has happened)… your husband/wife could actually use that money to help pay for the attorney helping him/her divorce you. So be very careful and make sure the college funds are in accounts specified and out of reach.
3. Discuss aid forms. The FAFSA will only need to know the income/information of the parent that child spends more time with, and that person’s current spouse if applicable. If a child splits time equally, he/she should fill out the form with the parent with the lower income. This will help your child earn more federal grant/loan money!
Splitting college funds is tough and it rarely works out perfectly even. Aim for “good,” not perfect. It usually isn’t worth fighting over if it’s reasonably fair.