Safeguarding Your Children’s College Education in a Divorce

By | Published On: September 6, 2013

One of the most important and expensive investments you’ll make for your child is a college education. When parents divorce before their children graduate from high school, the assets they initially intended for college could come into question as the couple negotiates splitting assets in their divorce. Here are some tips for ensuring that the money you’ve placed toward your children’s college education doesn’t become a casualty of your divorce.

Don’t rely exclusively on the courts

In Maryland, DC and Virginia, the courts are very limited in what they can do to make divorcing parents responsible for paying higher education costs. If this is a particularly important point for you, you may want to seek an alternative to litigation in order to be able to work out an agreement that includes higher education costs for your child. Work with an experienced family lawyer to make sure that your divorce agreement is drafted carefully. An experienced lawyer can help you with the exact wording to protect those assets you’ve already set aside toward funding your children’s college education, as well as to create the framework for any additional investment your children will need for higher education costs.

Select a constructive process for your divorce

Establish a process that will emphasize cooperation between you and your spouse, and agree to put the children first. That will allow you to keep the assets set aside for your children’s education separate from the group of assets you’re working to divide. Your children will appreciate your effort.

Find a solution that works for everyone

Explore all the options available to you, and be creative in developing your plan to cover college costs. An experienced financial planner working alongside your attorney can help you identify sources of funding that might not be obvious, as well as investment tools that could give you and your spouse helpful tax breaks.

Jonathan Dana is a family law attorney and founding partner of Tucker PLLC. For advice regarding your divorce situation, email or schedule a consultation here.

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