You already know that raising children is expensive, but you may not have realized just how many costs were involved until it was time to figure out child support during your divorce. Sure, there are the basics, such as housing and food, but what about medical care, extracurricular activities and more? While you were busy focusing on these details, you might have forgotten about one other important cost: college.
Sending your child to college is perhaps one of the most expensive undertakings you will encounter. If you are divorced, is it your responsibility alone? If you did not plan for it in your divorce settlement, it may be.
How do we plan this out?
You and your ex might not be financially equipped to pay for college out of pocket, so this discussion might seem unnecessary. However, you can still agree to a few certain conditions, such as if you will require your child to pursue scholarships or if one or both of you will take out loans to help cover the cost.
Even if the full cost of tuition is out of the question, consider committing to certain costs associated with getting a degree. Do you want to purchase your child's books? Maybe your ex plans to pay for room and board. Regardless, a verbal agreement to "help out" with college costs does not amount to much. If you want to make sure your ex helps shoulder the cost of educating your child, get it in writing during your divorce.
Isn't it too soon to think about college?
Parents of young children may feel like college is too far away to begin thinking about paying tuition. It can be hard to imagine a toddler who has yet to master the alphabet heading off towards his or her first day at a university. However, if you do not lay the groundwork for this discussion, there is no guarantee that you will have any help in the future.
Rather than agreeing to cover specific costs, consider addressing how you will discuss the issue in the future. Ask the "what if" questions, including "what if she does not even go to college?" These simple approaches can make the future much easier.
When should we get started?
If you are in the middle of a divorce, the time is now. With college tuition on a seemingly endless rise, your child's future education could be on the line.
Connecticut family law can be complicated, so you must be careful when crafting any type of agreement. For those who want to make sure that their agreements are enforceable in the future, working with an attorney who is experienced in these matters can be helpful.