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Kids and college: who will pay?

It may seem like child custody is the hardest issue to consider when it comes to divorce because it involves actual time spent with your child. But Florida parents should also consider the true value of having child support decided fairly. While there are legal guidelines when it comes to child support, there are also other expenses to consider such as health insurance and college costs. Even if your child is a toddler, it’s a good idea to think ahead. It may mean the difference between being able to put your child through college and struggling to pay for even a semester.

It’s important to add details regarding financing college into your divorce settlement. It may not be the final decision, as one of you may seek to make changes later, but at least there will be a baseline. That way one parent doesn’t get stuck fitting the whole college bill.

When it does come time to pay up, it’s important to apply for financial aid. If a child lives with both parents equally, it’s a good idea to have the parent with the lower income fill out the paperwork. Besides loans and grants, it’s also vital to consider where your portion of the funds will come from. One unfortunate real-life scenario really puts this issue into perspective. A father of two had $75,000 in three accounts that was to be used for his two kids’ college education. During the divorce, that money got split up because it was not in a 529 plan (a tax-free account for college expenses). Ultimately, $45,000 went toward paying legal fees for both sides.

While divorce may feel like a present-moment problem, it’s very important to consider all the implications of the settlement in terms of your future.

Source: Reuters, “CORRECTED-YOUR MONEY-Three things divorced parents need to know about college,” Geoff Williams, Mar. 3, 2014 

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