Planning for college savings essential during divorce

Getting divorced in New Jersey can certainly have an impact on the spouses going through it, but it can also affect the children. One aspect of caring for children post divorce that is sometimes neglected during the divorce process is how to pay for their college education. Parents going through divorce would be wise to tackle this matter during their divorce proceeding to prevent conflicts regarding it in the future.  It is customary for parties to avoid addressing that issue in a resolution of a divorce until the childen are near completion of their school.

If possible, it is best for parents to come up with an agreement that explains how they intend to cover their children's college tuition and other anticipated higher education expenses. These other expenses may include computers, books and meal plans, for example. Many parents use state university costs as a guideline for determining how much to save.

In the divorcing parents' agreement, it may also be helpful to highlight what they will do if a child decides to take a gap year or study abroad. In fact, they might also want to spell out what happens to money put in a college fund if the child decides not to go to college altogether. In some cases, parents choose not to contribute to their children's college funds until all scholarships, grants and student loans have been exhausted.  This approach is often followed.

Navigating the financial aspect of divorce in New Jersey can be tricky, as it is oftentimes a source of conflict during marital breakups. However, if divorcing spouses can resolve their differences at the negotiation table, they can avoid going to trial to let a judge decide for them how to handle their finances. An attorney can help a spouse who is going through divorce to pursue the best outcome for himself or herself long term.  Less than one percent of divorce matters are concluded with a trial.  It makes much more sense for the parties to resolve their own issues with the assistance of counsel.  To let a Judge, who knows much less about the parties, their finances, and their children decide divorce issues, including college costs, contributions, does not make sense.

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