November 4, 2014

Divorced Parent Paying for College: Planning Ahead

Child Custody, Children of Divorce, Illinois family law attorney

Sorting through complicated financial issues is one major hurdle that many divorcees fear. There may be complex decisions to make regarding spousal support or alimony, the division of property, or issues of child support when applicable. Additionally, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have children together, sorting out how you plan to pay for your child’s higher education is a crucial conversation to have when undergoing divorce.

According to an article posted by The Huffington Post, there are several ways in which divorced couples can plan for their child’s college education. The most important step is to talk over specifics with your attorneys, and ensure that both parties are on the same page when it comes to determining who will pay for what and when.

Also, negotiating early in the divorce process is essential, even if your child is very young. Article author Geoff Williams suggests that having a baseline understanding of each parents’ responsibilities—even 15 years down the road—is a good start, even if you “need to revisit the issue as the kids get older and your finances change.”

Another important step is to make sure that the money you are putting aside for your child’s education is in a college fund that cannot be touched for anything else. Ensuring that the money is in a 529 tax-free college-expenses-only account is important, as legal fees surrounding a divorce can often tap into what was originally set aside for your children.

Other important strategies for paying for your child’s college expenses as a divorced parent include understanding the types of loans available. The Parent PLUS loan, according to, is a good one that both parents can apply for, even for the same child.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce and has questions about how to share paying for a child’s college education, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do no go through it alone. Contact a DuPage County family law attorney today.