Divorce can be a complicated process. Although every member of a family going through divorce will be affected in some way, proactive steps can minimize the impact and help everyone move forward. As such, a couple's settlement can include forward-thinking provisions.
In many cases, parents want their children to get a college education. However, the growing costs of tuition can make this a daunting prospect for many families -- especially if they're going through a divorce-related financial transition. Despite potential challenges, divorcing parents can split their assets in a way that can help make college a reality for their children.
Some couples may specifically outline financial contributions made by one or both parents to help pay for college. Certainly, this is something to consider during property division and other aspects of divorce, but there are other means to fund an education.
One thing many future and present college students do is submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known popularly as FAFSA. This allows students to gain access to public funding for their education while accounting for their financial capability, which is based on their income and their parents' income.
In addition to parental income, the FAFSA considers which parent a child is living with after divorce. As such, if one parent has a lower income than the other, it may help a student obtain more financial aid. As such, a divorce agreement can provide that a child spends a majority of his or her time living with the parent who has a lower income.
Taking time to think about financing a college education during the divorce process can seem overwhelming, particularly in the context of all the other issues involved in marital dissolution. However, seeking trustworthy advice can go a long way in making sure that a divorce is settled fairly while making sound financial considerations for the entire family.
Source: CBS Money Watch, "How does divorce affect college financial aid?" Lynn O'Shaughnessy, Sept. 27, 2013