College Planning in Divorce
Whether your child is five or fifteen, college planning is important. The cost of college is anything but secure, and a college degree is becoming necessary for a good job. College planning isn’t always addressed in a divorce. Sometimes, this lack of planning can affect your child if you and your spouse cannot agree on who will pay for college when the time comes.
Planning for college in divorce doesn’t have to be difficult. Massachusetts’s law about financial support for college is fairly straightforward. The state is not required to order either parent to pay for their child’s college education, but it can order continuing financial support while your child is in school in certain cases. If you want to help your child after they turn 18, and you and your spouse want to help your child together, you can address the costs of college in your separation agreement. If you want to ensure your child’s education has some security, you may want to work out an agreement with your spouse on contributions to a college savings or guaranteed tuition account. You can also form an agreement on who will cover costs beyond what you have saved.
College planning may not be at the forefront of your mind when you are focusing on the immediate task at hand. Know, however, that going back to this matter once your child nears college age may be difficult. Your circumstances could change down the road, and it may not be in your child’s best interests to simply address those costs as they come up. Making proper provisions for college savings and cost sharing now can ensure your child some security in the future.
Discuss college planning with your mediator if you are mediating your divorce. An experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator will be able to inform you of possible arrangements you can make to cover the costs of your child’s education. Some college savings account contributions may be tax-free. You and your spouse may be able to take advantage of that by planning now. You may also want to discuss how you will file your child’s FAFSA for financial aid, who will take the educational costs tax credits or deductions, who gets to decide whether your child completes college credits while still in high school, and who will help your child move for college. In any case, planning for college now, no matter how old your child is, can provide them with security and stability in the future.
If you have questions about planning for college in the divorce, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can provide you the information and guidance needed to help you and your spouse plan for your child’s future. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.