Heymann & Fletcher

Divorce: Couples can include college funding in negotiations

A recent study indicates that four out of every ten marriages will end. Unfortunately, a divorce affects more than just the couple. Shared children often feel the biggest impact of a parent's failing marriage. New Jersey parents may be interested to know that more than a child's emotional well-being can be affected; their college education can also be impacted.

When a couple divorces, each spouse experiences an increase in expenses. While married, a married couple typically shares one residence and all other living expenses. Most couples choose to live in separate residences following a divorce, doubling all living expenses. Unfortunately, to pay for all the present needs for a family, including child support, alimony and/or any other payments agreed in a divorce settlement, college funds are often neglected.

Prior to a divorce, many couples have not adequately financially planned for the future, including their children's college funds. Some couples may choose to involve a financial planner in all financial decisions in order to help them adequately plan for the future while meeting all of their living expenses. If a college fund account, such as a 529 account, has not been started, parents are often encouraged to open one. Depending on the financial situation of both parents, the court may include instructions for college funding in the settlement order.

Although pursuing a divorce is often difficult on any children involved, it is often the realistic choice for a couple to make. The right New Jersey family law attorney can assist an individual seeking divorce to understand all the considerations needed for the care and funding to raise children. While advocating for an individual's desired outcome, an attorney can also advocate for the best interests of the children.

Source: Lorie Konish, "How to keep your divorce from sabotaging your children's college education", Lorie Konish, May 18, 2018

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