How to Negotiate Your Children’s College Expenses in Your Divorce Settlement

Divorce impacts your entire family. As you negotiate a divorce settlement and parenting plan, you make all decisions based on what’s best for your children. Even if your children are young, you should tackle who will pay for their college education during the divorce negotiation. An experienced charlotte family law attorney can advise you of your options and ensure you pick the one that best fits your vision of your children’s future. Keep reading to know how you can negotiate your children’s college expenses in your Charlotte divorce settlement:

Can You Include College Expenses in Child Support?

The courts in the state of North Carolina don’t order college expenses as part of the child support obligation of your ex-spouse since they are the legal obligation of your children. The obligation of your ex-spouse is to pay child support which ends when your children turn 18 or graduate from high school.

Adding a College Expense Provision to Your Divorce Settlement

You and your ex can agree to add a provision for your children’s college expenses to your divorce settlement that specifies who will pay which higher education expenses for your children. Try to be as specific as possible to avoid disputes later. This includes specifying what percentage you and your ex-spouse pay and if this includes all college expenses or just tuition. You can add an age cap or the number of years of schooling to which you will contribute. Also, you can add a tuition cap like limiting the obligation of every parent to the cost of an in-state public university, no matter where your child attends school. 

If you add a college expense provision to your divorce settlement and your ex fails to pay, the latter can be sued by your child for breach of contract since your child is the third-party beneficiary. You can file a lawsuit if your child is still a minor.

Contributing to a 529 Plan

The 529 plan contribution will be used for the college education of your children. You can specify a percentage of income or a set amount for every parent to pay. If your child decides not to pursue higher education, you must specify what happens to the funds. 

Negotiating a divorce settlement can be stressful. And if you add money and children to the negotiations, the process can be even more contentious. An experienced lawyer can protect the future of your children by adding a college expense provision as part of your divorce settlement. Also, your attorney can negotiate contributions to a 529 Plan.