Divorcing parents have a lot to think about, from child custody arrangements to child support payments. With everything else that needs to be addressed, it can be easy to overlook important details, such as the cost of a college education for your child. As this could be a critical aspect of ensuring a solid future for your child, it should be front and center as you are addressing property division and other aspects of your divorce.
College Is No Small Expense
According to an article from CNBC, the current cost of tuition, fees, room and board for an in-state, four-year college is $20,770 on average, with the cost of a private nonprofit college reaching $46,950 on average.
Perhaps you already have a plan in place and have started saving money to cover your child's college costs. That money may be set aside in a 529 plan, in a separate savings account or elsewhere. Whatever the case may be, it is important to ensure that those funds are protected throughout the property division process, and not divided as other assets or savings accounts may be.
If there is no college savings plan in place, now may be a good time to consider starting one, potentially in the form of a 529 plan. The reality of divorce is such that people are often caught off guard by the transition from a two-income household to a single-income household. A lot of expenses are trimmed from the budget to make do, and college savings are at risk of being pushed aside in the process.
It is important to note that, under Colorado law, a court can no longer order a parent to contribute to their child's college costs. However, parents can reach an agreement that states that one or both parents will contribute to their child's college costs, and that agreement can be upheld in court. Ultimately, divorcing parents should use care to consider what is in the best interest of their children, now and in the future.