The Impact of Divorce on Choosing and Paying for Your Child’s College Education
We recently came across a Wall Street Journal article about how colleges and universities have had to come up with some fairly creative ways to offer campus tours to incoming freshmen. With Covid-19 hindering travel, and social distancing protocols making it difficult to host group gatherings, campus tours have gone virtual: virtual reality tours, live virtual tours, Zoom tours, and even campus tours via the popular video game, Minecraft.
This ingenuity is certainly helpful to those students and parents navigating the Covid-19 world. A fringe benefit, however, is the cost-savings of not having to travel cross-country to visit college after college…an especially appealing benefit for divorced parents.
For divorced parents, choosing a college—and financing your student’s education—can be a hot-button issue, especially if the parents are in different financial positions. Who will fund the cost of traveling to visit your child’s selected colleges? How will your divorce—or a remarriage—impact your child’s eligibility for financial aid? What if one parent can afford the cost of an expensive private school, but the other parent is unable to chip in equally?
At Lazor Rantas, PC, we encourage our clients to work out an agreement with their ex-spouse—if possible—and outline the terms of that agreement in a legally binding document. Many parents will outline plans for each of their children independently, including who is paying, how much each party is expected to pay, what types of schools will be considered, etc. It’s also possible to pre-pay for your child’s college education, specifically for divorcing parents with young children.
Every state is different, but in New Jersey, generally both parents are obligated to contribute to the cost of their child’s college education, with the level of contribution dependent on the circumstances of each party. Working out these details in advance can save a massive amount of stress later.
In short, when it comes to divorce, it’s always better to have a plan in place for the future than to procrastinate and deal with matters when the time comes. Sending your children off to college is emotional enough. Eliminating the emotional strain of having to negotiate complicated financial matters with your ex will make the process much more enjoyable.
Lazor Rantas, PC offers family law services to help address these and many of the other complicated situations that arise during and after divorce. Let us know how we can help simplify your life!