If your children intend to go to college, what you pay for their education, whether they attend classes in Tennessee or elsewhere, will most likely be the most significant expense you face in raising them. When parents divorce before their offspring enters college, one of their prime considerations should be how they will pay for higher education costs.
Consider your options for financing college
As soon as you and your spouse decide to split, financing college should become one of the prime divorcing parent topics. The closer your children are to college age, the more urgent the need to decide how to finance their educations. Consider the following scenarios as options to fund higher education:
- Agree to set aside a percentage or a set amount of income
- Paying by thirds, where each parent pays a third and each child must pay the remaining third
- Both parents agree to split the cost at an in-state university campus
- Contributing to a tax-advantage 529 account to pay for college expenses
Planning ahead for all scenarios
The key to effectively paying for your children’s college occurs when you and your spouse plan ahead. Your children may decide not to go to college or receive scholarships that will pay for all or part of their expenses. You need to specify what will happen to the money earmarked for education in such cases. Your child support agreement should specify what will happen to the money in such cases.
By planning ahead, you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. You may also lighten the financial burden that comes with divorce if you specify how the college savings should be used, no matter what the circumstances. Remember, you can modify all divorce documents if your circumstances necessitate it in the future.