Ironically, couples whose marriages are ending might be communicating more during this time than in the recent past. Divorce forces couples to discuss not only issues pertaining to property, other assets and debts, but also issues pertaining to the future of any children they share. One of the things on the agenda for New Jersey couples to discuss is who will pay for the children’s educations beyond high school.
Much to think about
Even if the children are young, this discussion needs to take place. While both parents are responsible for their children’s educations, a divorce settlement could stipulate how their post-secondary educations will be handled. The agreement should be precise, to prevent court intervention before kids head off to college. Here are some questions to consider:
- If the child chooses not to go to college, what will happen?
- To whom do any college savings plans belong?
- How will parents treat any other financial responsibility that may be incurred for other things pertaining to college such as room and board, meals, books, computer, etc.?
- What is one parent doesn’t have the funds to contribute when the time comes?
- How will child support be affected if the child puts off going to university?
- If the child chooses to live in a frat or sorority house or in an apartment instead of a dorm, will one parent’s contributions change?
Any custody agreement will be used to decide which parent’s income a child will use to apply for financial aid such as students loans or scholarships. An agreement could say that other means of finances should be used before either parent contributes financially. These are the types of decisions that should be made during a divorce and not just before a child applies to college.
Getting advice on this subject from a New Jersey lawyer who is experienced issues pertaining to family law such as divorce, child custody and child support may be wise. Children should not bear the brunt of a divorce. It certainly should not affect a child’s future education.