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Paying For Children’s College Expenses After Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Schaumburg family law attorney, college expenses, 529 college savings account, college savings plans, college and divorceDivorce can cause a great deal of financial upheaval in a couple’s lives, and as parents seek to restructure their finances following the end of their marriage, they will need to continue to provide for their children.

One financial aspect of divorce that parents sometimes neglect is how to pay for their children’s college expenses, especially if they divorce when their children are still young and college is several years in the future.

However, as college approaches, and families begin the process of applying for financial aid, they can take certain steps to ensure that children will be able to receive a college education without breaking the bank:

  1. Determine the information to use on financial aid forms - When filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, students will need to identify their custodial parent. Even if parents share joint custody, only one parent can be identified, and this should be the parent who the student lived with the most during the previous year. If parenting time was equal during that time, the custodial parent is the parent who provided the most financial support to the child. If the custodial parent has remarried, their spouse should also be listed on the FAFSA.

  1. Provide the correct financial information - While the FAFSA only requires a student to identify the custodial parent and his or her spouse, financial aid forms for individual colleges may ask for more information, including the incomes of the non-custodial parent and their spouse, when determining eligibility for financial aid. Be sure to understand what information is required and how each family member’s income will affect the amount of financial aid a student can receive.

  1. Manage college savings plans - Parents may have opened a 529 college savings account for their children, and following divorce, one parent will need to assume control of the account. In most cases, the non-custodial parent should be the one to control these accounts, so that these college savings will not be included on the student’s FAFSA, allowing them to be eligible for more financial aid. The custodial parent should still be designated as an authorized user on the account, as well as the successor owner, in case the non-custodial parent dies.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

Determining how to pay for children’s college expenses after divorce can be a tricky, complex undertaking. However, parents who want the best for their children should work together to ensure that their children have the resources they need to pursue a college education.

If you need help determining the best approach to take as you and your ex-spouse prepare to help your children pay for college expenses, the compassionate attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. will work with you to reach a solution that is beneficial for everyone involved. Contact a Schaumburg family law attorney at 847-995-9999 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2015/08/19/3-important-college-funding-questions-to-answer-during-a-divorce

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2016-01-21/4-tips-for-families-navigating-college-financial-aid-amid-divorce

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/28/_n_4874071.html

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