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How do I address college costs in a divorce?

If you are the parent of a child who is still in high school and you and your spouse are getting divorced, it is important that you address the potential for upcoming college costs as you negotiate your divorce settlement. Even if your student attends a California state college or university, the costs can be very high. As explained by CNBC, without any documented agreement between you and your spouse, you could be on the hook to pay for everything. The worst scenario is that this would prevent your child from getting the education they want.

When determining how you and your child’s other parent would like to share costs for college, it is important that you look beyond simply the costs for tuition. This is only one element of sending your child to school. The institution they want to attend will have various fees, books must be purchased or rented, a computer is needed and there may be costs for transportation so your child can visit on holidays and school breaks.

Living expenses should be accounted for, whether on or off campus. You may choose to require that any eligible financial aid is accepted before either parent pays out of pocket as well.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in California an idea of the various facts and costs they should discuss with their spouse when they get divorced so that they can properly prepare for the day when their children may want to go to college.