Divorce Tip: Planning for Your Child's Education
For many people, child support is a necessary expense meant to support a child of divorce or separation until he or she has reached 18 years of age. However, for parents of children seeking a secondary education, expenses reach well into their child’s early adulthood. Most parents support their child’s wishes to go to a good college, trade school, or training program, but finding the funds for such an expense can be tricky, especially for divorced parents.
If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about the future of your child’s education, make sure you know what you can do to protect their interests after high school.
Understanding the Expense
A postsecondary education can be pricey, especially for universities or private schools. For some, the cost of tuition for 4 years can cost more than a new house. So, to prepare for this expense, make sure you and your child’s other parent understand the cost early on and are ready for the additional expense. Besides tuition, your child will need suitable housing, funds for school books, food, supplies, and transportation. Make an estimated budget, look at the expenses of various schools that align with your child’s interests (ex. If your child wants to be an architect, see what the average tuition costs, or if your child wants to become a firefighter, see what education he or she needs and what the expense might be). Nothing is set in stone, but if you are proactive about the upcoming expense, it can make it easier on your finances and enable your child to have a brighter future.
Planning for Education Expenses During Your Divorce
From a legal standpoint, it is essential that you prepare for the expense of college as early as possible. Married couples might not always see eye to eye about postsecondary education and how it should be funded, but the likelihood that you and your ex-spouse will be able to work through those disagreements after a divorce is even less probable.
Coming to an agreement about how to pay for postsecondary education during the divorce process can protect your child’s future and help you get a more concrete idea of what you will each have to pay later down the road. In order to do this properly, you can ask your lawyer to include a specific “postsecondary education” provision in your final divorce agreement.
Postsecondary Child Support in Oregon
Not every state supports postsecondary child support, but Oregon does. In Oregon, parents can petition the court to ask for the other parent to help pay for their child’s college education. However, having this provision stipulated ahead of time in your divorce agreement can make things substantially easier.
In either case, the child can be required to maintain a certain grade point average in order to retain support, must provide the supporting parents with certain information in regard to their education, like classes and grades. The child might also be required to apply for all possible grants, scholarships, student aid, and so on.
If a provision is written out ahead of time, or if parents can agree to the postsecondary child support terms on their own, they might stipulate that each parent is responsible for certain expenses. For example, Parent A might pay for tuition while Parent B pays for housing, food, and transportation.To protect your child’s future education, make sure you plan how you and your ex-spouse will finance their college or trade school experience. Contact McKinley Irvin for help with your Oregon divorce provision or postsecondary child support dispute.