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Paying for your child’s college after a divorce

When you divorce your significant other and the two of you share a child who plans to attend college, you may want to discuss how you plan to finance his or her education before you finalize your divorce. While Arizona does not typically require divorcing couples to hash out exactly how they will finance college, making a plan ahead of time may help eliminate financial uncertainties while ensuring that both parties understand their responsibilities.

If you are going through a divorce and you also need to figure out how to pay for a child’s college education, consider the following.

How divorce can impact financial aid eligibility

Whether your college-bound child will be able to receive federal financial aid will depend on the income level of the custodial parent. In other words, determining which of you will be the custodial parent, or whether you plan to share custody moving forward, should give you a better idea of your ability to access financial aid.

Whether remarriage is likely for either party

It is important, too, that you recognize how remarrying can impact your child’s ability to acquire financial aid. If you or your ex is to remarry before your child attends college, the income of the new spouse can potentially hinder your child’s ability to secure aid.

Whether your child will follow a “typical” path

Not every child graduates from high school and immediately moves on to college. Thus, it may serve you and your ex well to think about what you plan to do in the event that your child takes a gap year or decides to go to a trade school, rather than a traditional, four-year institution.

Statistics show that children of divorce are less likely than their peers without divorced parents to attend and graduate from college. The more you plan ahead, though, and the more you understand about how to finance your child’s college, the more likely he or she will be to attend school and, ultimately, earn a degree.

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