In this blog post, I am going to discuss a big question I get asked a lot. “Who pays for college when I get divorced?” This is a concept I hear a lot about, but there is not much information available on this topic. In fact, this is a big issue when clients come to me with children in high school or having just graduated high school.
As always remember the information provided in this blog is to inform rather than to provide legal advice.
First, I will discuss the steps when there is an agreement regarding paying for a child’s college tuition during a divorce. Next, I will discuss what happens when there is not an agreement to pay for a child’s college tuition during the divorce process. Attempting as best I can to answer the question, Who pays for college when I get divorced?
For example, let’s say you have a child who is working hard in high school and plans to attend college. How is it determined who will pay for their college education when their parents are in the middle of getting divorced?
One of the most important things to do is to discuss this upcoming situation in advance of a divorce proceeding to get an idea of both parents’ perspectives towards their belief of who is going to pay for college when I get divorced. Will it be the responsibility of one parent or will both parents share that responsibility the best they can?
Of course, as an attorney, I tell all my clients to make sure that whatever they discuss is put in writing so that at least there is some evidence of an agreement going forward.
The next step in this process is trying to determine what happens when there is an agreement regarding who will be responsible for paying for the children’s college tuition.
Generally speaking, at least in the state of California, Family Court only has jurisdiction over a child until they turn 18 years old or if they will be graduating high school at the age of 19. This means, generally Family Court will not be able to make orders regarding a child once the child has graduated high school. Also, they do not generally make orders about who is going to pay for a child’s college tuition unless the parents have agreed to a plan.
This means, that it is extremely important for parents to put a condition into their Marriage Settlement Agreement otherwise known as (MSA) as to who is going to pay for college, what expenses will be paid for, how this payment will be made, and any other particulars regarding their child’s college attendance. This will require a fairly in-depth conversation and perhaps consultation with their attorneys.
Obviously, an agreement for college tuition relies upon finances and the availability to pay. Because finances can be volatile especially when going through the divorce process, it may be beneficial for parents to set money aside that will specifically be used for the children’s college expenses. This is a good way to help answer the question, Who will pay for college when I get divorced?
This is a topic that should be discussed in much more detail with a family law attorney who can provide detailed information regarding your specific situation.
In my next blog post, I will discuss the topic of paying college expenses especially when there is no agreement for payment.
To inquire further about your family law matter look for a local family law attorney who can discuss this process as it relates to your specific situation. In San Diego contact the Law Offices of Brian A. Victor for more information on your specific family law situation www.brianvictorlaw.com