Going through a New York or New Jersey divorce is a difficult and emotional process. Each party is focused on getting it over, and the quicker the better. However, those going through the process should not let their haste create long term problems. A future issue that needs to be considered is how to pay for your children's college tuition.
The responsibilities of each party should be included in the divorce decree. Language in the decree needs to be as specific as possible, so the agreement is enforceable. A Rockland County divorce attorney should be consulted to make sure provisions are drafted properly.
For instance, separating spouses must decide if a 529 college savings plan is appropriate, who will contribute to the fund and how much? They need to consider all of the costs that may be incurred by children and how much the parents will hope to cover. Such costs include:
- Room and board,
- Books and supplies,
- Fees for extracurricular activities
A good agreement will define how each of these costs will be split between the parents and if the child support payor should receive any additional credits or a reduction in direct support paid to the custodial parent.
The agreement should expressly state the maximum amount each person is required to contribute to college education expenses. A clause may state that if a child attends a private college the parties agree to each pay more.
A time limit should be set on how many years each parent will be obligated to pay for university expenses and the expenses should be clearly defined. Will the parents continue to pay for a fifth year of undergraduate studies, the costs of a postgraduate degree and must the child attend school as a day time fully matriculated student?
Lastly, the divorce agreement should state how college expenses will be paid if a parent is laid off or unemployed. Moreover, it should require that each parent has life insurance and disability insurance that would cover a child's college costs in the event of any tragedy or injury. I also like to add clauses that the child maintain some level of cumulative grade point average, report to the payors their grades and maintain visitation with the payor parents.
Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Questions: How Is College Tuition Divided Among Exes?" Honoree Corder, Apr. 17, 2012.