If you’re going through a divorce and your child is very young, it’s probably not at the forefront of your mind to consider negotiating your child’s college education with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, this is exactly the time you should be discussing it.
If you wait until your child is closer to college-bound age, well after your divorce is finalized, you and your ex-spouse may have your own new families and additional children to take care of. This increases the possibility that your opinions on the subject will be even more contentious than they may already be.
What’s more, the law in some states is such that, unless you provide for your child’s college education in your divorce agreement or child support order, you may lose your right to it altogether.
In Nevada, the court cannot order a parent to contribute toward a child’s college costs. However, family law courts will enforce private agreements that provide for post-secondary educational support.
So If you both agree to be equally responsible for your child’s future college costs, be sure to incorporate that agreement into your court order, so it can be enforced when it’s needed.
Below are some suggested steps to help you secure your child’s educational goals:
Step #1: Consult with a seasoned family law attorney during your divorce.
A well-versed family law lawyer can help you negotiate a realistic college education plan that complies with your state’s legal standards.
Step #2: Ensure your divorce agreement or child support order provides for your child’s college education, and be as specific as possible about your obligations.
No matter the age of your child, you need to plan for your child’s college education before the divorce is finalized. You should include as detailed a provision as you can with regards to it in your final agreement or child support order.
Consider the following when crafting this provision:
- How do you want expenses to be shared and paid by the both of you, and your child?
- Do you want to put a monetary cap on the amount of your obligation?
- Do you want to limit your financial exposure to the cost of public colleges?
- Do you want the child to seek financial aid or grants prior to your obligation kicking in?
- How will you handle the inevitable additional expenses, like room, board, meals, books, computer costs, health insurance, clothing, and transportation?
- Do you want there to be a specific timeframe within which the child must attend college to be eligible for this support?
If it’s not possible to negotiate a specific plan now, simply make it clear in your agreement or order that you will both provide post-secondary educational support. You can reserve the details for later negotiations or court action, so long as that provision is in there. But if you don’t include it, you may lose your right to it in the future.
Step #3: Be sure to consult your agreement when considering colleges with your child.
You should make sure the colleges your child is considering are affordable and in accordance with any specific provisions set out in your agreement or order. If you did not include a detailed provision that covers the extent of your obligations, you may need to negotiate or even litigate the terms with your ex-spouse.
At Pintar Albiston, our seasoned family law attorneys can provide you with invaluable advice that will help you secure your child’s college goals. To begin the process of ensuring a brighter future for yourself and your children, schedule your consultation in Las Vegas at 702-685-5255.
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