College expenses and divorce

College is expensive. Under ideal circumstances, Arizona parents have planned, saved and invested to be prepared for this expense. In addition, the child has studied and worked hard to earn a college acceptance letter. Yet, even when these things have happened, a divorce can alter the college financial picture.

A lot of things change when a couple decides to divorce. Even though they still want to give their child every possible advantage, this desire will need to be tempered with realistic financial expectations.  In many cases, one parent may ask for all or a percentage of college expenses to be paid as a part of the divorce agreement. This is a valid request, yet the way in which it is addressed can be critical.

When finances are limited, a blanket statement regarding how college expenses will be handled can lead to more problems later on. Exactly how much and for how long will these expenses continue can be a factor. If it all possible, these are concerns that should be addressed up front.

Additionally, if money has been set aside in a 529 plan, this will need to be addressed. Typically, one parent owns this plan. As owner, this parent does have access to these funds. Exactly how such an account will be managed and monitored will also need to be addressed.

Rather than allow divorce to become an issue as far as the child's college education is concerned, many Arizona parents find it best to address these concerns up front. This way, everyone involved knows who will bear what responsibility. Experienced legal counsel can assist in making this a part of the divorce agreement.

Source: CNBC, "How to keep your divorce from sabotaging your children's college education", Lorie Konish, May 18, 2018

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