One of the biggest financial concerns for most parents is saving enough money for their children’s college education. The fact that you’re divorcing shouldn’t prevent your child from going to the college of their choice.
Whether your child is still in elementary school or they’re in high school and already looking at schools, you and your co-parent can commit to partnering in saving for college and dividing the costs appropriately. This is just one area where you need to put aside your differences so that your child can have all the advantages the two of you can offer them.
There are various ways you can do this. If you’re still in the divorce process (or haven’t yet begun), you can include your plan for college savings in your divorce agreements.
If you don’t already have one, a 529 college savings account is a good way to put aside money for education. Typically, they can’t have joint ownership. If that’s the case, you’d need to agree to have the parent not on the account contribute to it upfront or regularly.
You can also agree to each open a traditional savings account or other savings instrument and determine how much you’ll each contribute. That, however, can make it difficult to ensure that your co-parent is making their agreed-upon deposits – and not using the account for anything else.
How much can you afford?
If college is on the horizon within the next few years, you may have already discussed between yourselves and likely with your child just how much you can afford to cover and how much they would need in scholarships or other financial aid for their dream school.
If your child has their eye set on Stanford, that’s obviously going to involve a much bigger investment than one of the state schools – or many out-of-state schools. If you and your co-parent are able to talk amicably about what you’ll be able to afford together, you can develop a college savings agreement and also let your child know how much you can contribute to their college education.
This may be just the beginning of having to continue to work together to put your child through college. With experienced legal guidance, you can agree on a plan that will be fair to both of you and show your child that you’re continuing to support their goals.