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Handling College Expenses Following a Divorce

When a marriage ends, all involved parties should revisit their financial plans. However, few exes have explicitly written plans in place for managing expenses such as college expenses for their children. Even if a divorce seems unlikely, all Minnesota couples should map out their plans in case of a separation.

An estimated four out of 10 marriages end in a divorce. This means that at any given time, a family's financial outlook could change. These changes can disrupt plans for higher education if efforts aren't made to ensure that tuition plans aren't carefully outlined during the divorce proceedings. By outlining the financial responsibilities of both parties, a couple could successfully maintain a college eduction fund.

Every year, tuition rates increase by roughly 3 percent. While annual tuition fees for a private education average around $46,950, it generally costs around $20,770 a year for public institutions. Due to these high costs, it is recommended that parents have contingency plans in place should a divorce occur. Working with a family attorney and a divorce financial analyst removes many of the challenges that come with separating a household's finances into two.

Courts view a child's tuition as the parents' responsibility. The norm is for both parties to pay what they can comfortably afford when it comes to tuition. Courts rarely maintain that both parties be responsible for a higher education that isn't financially feasible. Therefore, it is important for parents to use savings tools like 529 plans, which permit tax-free savings for education expenses.

Because a divorce can lead to many new financial obstacles, both parties should work with a financial expert and family law attorney who can address issues like spousal support and splitting college education funds. A divorce attorney can help smooth out the planning process to make sure that the interests of the children are protected.

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