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Planning for college tuition during divorce

When a California couple enters the divorce process, there are a vast number of choices that must be made. For couples who share children, matters of child custody and support often take the forefront of the negotiating process. While the immediate needs of the children are rightfully a priority, it is important to keep in mind that there will be future needs that also require attention during the divorce process.

Perhaps the most pressing of these concerns is funding a college education. The costs of attending college continue to rise, and many families plan to pay for all or a large portion of their child's' college tuition and housing. It can be difficult enough to save for college as a married couple, but once each spouse moves forward in their single lives, college funding can suffer.

The best way to handle this issue is to include college expenses within the divorce agreement. There is a wide range of ways to address the issue, and the ultimate solution can be as unique as the family it serves. Some couples will choose to simply state that the costs of a college education will be split 50/50, others will construct a detailed plan that outlines where the funding will be invested and how any overage will be distributed upon completion of a college degree.

While it may seem as if there is no end to the decisions that must be made during a California divorce, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Individuals should try to remain focused on reaching a settlement that is fair and attuned to the needs of all family members. Including college funding within the divorce process is one way to plan for the future needs of any shared children, and can help reduce stress and financial strain when the time comes to send a child off to school.

Source: US News and World Report, "Set up a framework as part of the divorce that maps out how to handle your kids' college costs," Reyna Gobel, April 29, 2013

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