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Planning for a child’s college expenses during a divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2019 | Divorce

When Arizona parents get a divorce, one concern they may have, even if their children are very young, is how to pay for their offspring’s college education. Parents who hoped to send their children to an expensive private college may find that the costs associated with splitting into two households instead of maintaining one make that less likely.

However, parents can still plan for their children’s college education as part of the divorce agreement. Each parent might agree to contribute a certain amount even if it is not as much as they had hoped to before the divorce. Parents and their children can also research the availability of scholarships, loans, and grants.

Families who already have a 529 plan in place might have a head start. This is a savings account that allows tax-free withdrawals for educational expenses. Parents may want to address the existing plan in the divorce agreement. Usually, one of them is the owner of the plan, but that owner is allowed to change the name of the owner or the beneficiary. Therefore, parents may feel more comfortable if they are both made owners or if they specify in the divorce agreement what the plan is for. Parents may also want to work with a financial professional to plan for this and other expenses after the divorce.

Although divorce can be a difficult, emotional process, parents should try to stay focused on their children throughout. This applies not just to planning for their college expenses but to negotiating parenting time and other elements of the divorce that concern them. It can be easy for parents to get caught up in their anger at one another and lose sight of how this affects their children. Although a judge can create a custody and visitation schedule if parents cannot agree, they may be happier with one they make together through negotiations assisted by their respective attorneys.

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