When couples with young children divorce, child support payments typically last until the child turns 18. But college comes next for many teens, and it’s a major expense for one parent to be left holding this responsibility alone. Their child may be an adult by law, and child support may technically have ended, but there are still bills to be paid – big bills. So, who’s responsible for them?
Plan Ahead for College Child Support
Not every divorcing couple has an amicable split. The person who’s paying child support or spousal support may draw the line at paying for college too. It’s sad to say, but there are plenty of people out there who do not feel obligated to help their children achieve a higher education.
Sure, there are loans and federal aid, but most parents don’t want to saddle their kids with a boatload of debt after a four-year education if they can help it, and there is only so much scholarship and grant money to go around. It’s important to plan for college costs if you’re in the middle of a divorce, whether your kids are nearing college age or you only have kids in elementary school.
Make sure the matter of college is effectively addressed in your divorce paperwork so you’re not alone in trying to afford your child’s education and this future investment. College expenses are not necessarily a matter that can be appealed for in a post-judgment action when it’s something that should have been handled during the divorce proceedings..
College and Child Support No Matter Your Kids’ Ages
If you are in the middle of a divorce and are living in two separate households, keep the following details in mind:
- Know Michigan’s child support laws: Every state has their own laws about the parental obligations regarding college. In Michigan, parents are not obligated to pay for college as part of child support, so you want to ensure that your divorce settlement outlines who is paying for what when it comes to college. This could be as specific as one parent pays tuition while the other pays room and board or it could be outlined as one parent pays a lump sum every semester or for the entire four-year journey to help support the child’s educational goals.
- Earmark your college savings plans: Many couples established college savings plans for their children when they were infants. Who retains control of these accounts after the divorce, who will make further contributions to the account (and when and how much), and how will the money be used when the time comes for college?
- Know the deadlines: For the 2021-2022 academic year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline is June 30, 2021. Be certain to identify in your divorce matters which parent is responsible for taking on the responsibility of keeping your child on track to apply for aid and meeting all appropriate deadlines.
Get Help with Your Michigan Divorce
You do not want to ignore discussions about college in your divorce simply because you might have young kids right now. They will age, and quickly, and their goals are very likely to involve college. You don’t want to limit their options because you can’t afford it – or because your ex has refused to help pay for it.
Retain a Michigan divorce lawyer who is prepared to help you and your children get everything you need in your Michigan divorce. Contact Michigan Divorce Help in Macomb County to schedule your free initial consultation.