Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson
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Yes, you should be talking about college during your divorce

Like most other parents in Ohio, you want your child to get a good education. However, tuition rates seem to go up year after year, and with a divorce under your belt, will you be able to help them get the education they need? If you plan for it, you probably still can.

Parents with young children usually do not think about the cost of a college education. Regardless of age, this is something that all divorcing parents need to consider. Do not assume that your ex will feel the same obligation to provide financial support that you feel.

Try to reach an agreement

Without a court order requiring them to help, parents usually do not have any obligation to pay for or otherwise financially support their child's college education. If your divorce is already amicable, you probably do not want to drag one another to court to secure an order regarding college expenses. Instead, you can reach an agreement between yourselves.

While it might be hard to specify exact costs, you should try to avoid being vague. Simply stating that "I will help pay for college costs" does not give anyone an accurate idea of what that support will actually look like. Are you paying a couple hundred dollars a year? Or a few thousand?

Set your limits

Yes, you recognize the need for a college degree in today's working world. However, you do not want to drive yourself into unimaginable levels of debt to help your child get that degree. Instead, set a limit on what you will support, including things that fall outside of tuition.

You may even choose to cover specific costs. Rather than committing to covering tuition or a flat amount, consider paying for the following:

  • Room and board
  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Food costs

College certainly comes with a number of expenses that need covering.

What if your ex changes his or her mind?

Committing to large, recurring payments in the future can cause problems once it comes time to make good on that promise. Instead, many Ohio parents find it preferable to make more immediate, up-front payments. Some parents choose to put the money into a trust fund or escrow, while others simply set the money aside and hand it over the child when they start college.

Planning to help pay for your child's college education is a wonderful gift, but it can be complicated by the divorce process. Even if you and your ex are on relatively good terms, things can quickly deteriorate once large sums of money are involved. Like other parents, you may find that an experienced attorney can provide valuable insight and guidance on this difficult matter.

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