09 Mar Negotiate College Costs During Your Divorce
No doubt when you are in the throes of a divorce you are probably not initially thinking about when your children are heading to college. But, this is exactly the time you should be not only thinking about it but also planning for it.
Even though there may be years before your children attend college, you still need to think seriously about it. Your children’s college tuition is likely to be one of the greatest future expenses you face, and even if you get full custody of your children, you should not have to shoulder that burden alone. Now is the time to discuss who is going to cover what costs, rather than waiting until the acceptance letters start coming in. This topic needs to be handled and ultimately decided on during your divorce negotiations.
Child support legally lasts only until your children reach the age of maturity, which is between 18 and 21, depending on your state of residence. If you fail to negotiate college costs during your divorce settlement, it may be necessary to take your spouse back to court to try and legally force them to contribute. This can be expensive, frustrating, and emotionally draining for your family.
It is much more efficient to negotiate college costs during your divorce settlement so that everything is taken care of when you and your spouse officially go your separate ways.
Here are five important tips for a divorce negotiation:
1. Get The Agreement In Writing
Verbal agreements mean nothing. There are so many unknowns in the future. Will your spouse remarry and have other children to support. It’s possible he could lose his job or just decide he doesn’t want to pay up. Promises mean nothing in court unless they are written down.
2. Be Specific
Determine who will pay for what. You can agree to split all costs in half, or decide that one parent pays for room and board and the other class costs and books, but no matter what your agreement is, again, get it in writing.
3. Payment method
Decide the logistics of how the tuition and college expenses will be paid. Opening an escrow account is a possibility. And this agreement must also be written down.
4. Payment And Time Caps
It may be advisable to institute payment caps, laying out the maximum amount each parent will pay per semester or year of school. Additionally, some parents also desire to implement a cap on a number of years they will provide funds per child so as not to indefinitely support what could be an extended college experience.
5. Disability And Life Insurance
It won’t matter what your divorce settlement says if your ex-husband dies or loses his lucrative job before your children are ready to attend college. A smart move is to require both parents to invest in life insurance and disability insurance that will cover their college payment obligations. This way, if anything happens to your ex-spouse, your children’s college dreams won’t be destroyed.
Working with an experienced attorney is very important in writing to get proper verbiage and advise you on what is reasonable to request. Divorce can be difficult, not only for you, but also that your children. With the help of an experienced attorney, your child’s future can be preserved.
Divorce Attorney Consultation with Jeffrey M. Bloom
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Bloom to have experience and legal knowledge on your side. Jeffrey M. Bloom will be the advocate you need to get your divorce agreements whether it be child custody or other divorce concerns in order and your life back on track. For an appointment, please call (805) 208-3650.