When you decide to get divorced, both you and your spouse agree that you want to put your children first. You know that they plan to attend college someday, and you want to help them financially. You would have done so while you were married and you still want to do it after the divorce.
If this is your stance, one of the most important things you can do is to talk to your ex and set up an official plan as part of the divorce agreement. Having it in writing helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.
When you write it down, try to be as clear as possible. For instance, if you set up a 529 plan for the child, specify that you will use the plan for their college costs. If you want to pay out of investments or savings, that’s fine too. Just specify what you’ll cover, how much you can pay, where you’ll get the money and all of the same obligations for your spouse.
As you determine how to address this situation, consider more than just the cost of tuition itself. Your child may also need money for:
- A meal plan
- Outside food
- A phone plan
- A computer
- School supplies
- Room and board
Some of these are more expensive than parents realize. Books alone can cost a child hundreds of dollars per semester, on top of all of their other expenses.
With any part of your divorce, you must make sure that you understand your rights and legal options. This extends to college-centered conversations about future financial support.