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Planning ahead for a child's college education during divorce

If you're divorcing when your child is young, you probably have a lot of different concerns on your mind -- like where your child will live and what kind of child support will be necessary.

Unfortunately, there's one more thing you should think about -- even though the issue is years away from seeming important: Your child's ability to earn a college degree.

The children of divorced parents tend to go to college less often than their counterparts whose parents remain together -- and they graduate less often. That could be because many divorcing parents don't plan ahead for their children's college needs.

As you go about crafting your parenting plan with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, here are some questions you need to answer:

  • Will you be contributing to a savings fund for college, like a 529 plan?
  • Will you agree to help fund your child's education at a private college or a state school? Under what circumstances?
  • What sort of college degree will you and your ex-spouse agree to cover? Will you cover graduate school or only an undergraduate degree?
  • If your child wants to pursue a trade instead, will you agree to divert the college fund to that instead?
  • What happens to your agreement if your child wants to take a "gap" year between high school and college?
  • What happens to the college fund if your child doesn't go to college at all?

These are just some of the complex questions that have to be answered as you make your child support agreement. A family law attorney understands that it's difficult to look ahead and try to foresee what will happen in a decade or more. They can provide valuable guidance on these issues and more.

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