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Paying for college after divorce? Talk about it now

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2020 | Child Support |

Most Alabama parents want the best educational opportunities for their children, but paying for those opportunities is not always easy. The situation can get even more complicated for divorced parents. There are often questions about how much each parent is responsible for paying, and who should be in charge of any savings. Rather than waiting until college is fast approaching, these parents can start talking about things before the divorce process is even over.

If both parents feel certain that they want to contribute financially to their child’s college education, it may be a good idea to create a 529 savings plan. These college savings accounts offer tax free growth and up to $5,000 per year in income tax deductions. Divorcing parents should be sure to discuss how much each will contribute and get the agreement in writing. If one parent has demonstrated poor financial behavior, it might be best to keep the account in the other parent’s name with the child named as the beneficiary.

Since the cost of tuition at a public university was $10,230 for the 2018-2019 school year, parents may hyperfocus on this cost when talking about financial obligations. However, this figure does not cover things like housing, books, supplies, transportation, meals plans and other college expenses. Any conversation that does not include these types of expenses may leave parents scrambling to figure out a plan once their child actually reaches college.

Covering every small detail of major financial decisions can be overwhelming on a good day, much less during the emotional process of divorce. This is part of what can make the process feel stressful for some people. Instead of simply hoping to cover everything thoroughly, it may be helpful to work alongside an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable in Alabama family law.