A college education can help open doors that people would otherwise not have access to, such as higher earning potential and professional development. Like many other parents in Florida, you probably hope that your child will one day attend college, earn a degree and access those benefits. However, your upcoming divorce could throw college plans off track.
Staying married to potentially give your child a better chance at attending a university is not a realistic expectation, so you should not put off a necessary divorce to do so. Instead, focus on incorporating future plans into your settlement.
Plan for the future today
Although the concept of planning on how you will pay for your child’s college education may seem new, planning for the future is nothing new in divorce. You will probably have to address many “future” issues, such as retirement and financial security over the next several years. Thinking about strategies to pay for college is not that much different.
What is different, however, is the approach. Rather than agreeing that one or both of you will foot the bill, you can agree to strategies for covering the full cost. These may include:
- Applying for scholarships
- Taking out student loans
- Having a child work part-time
Think about what else could happen
The ideal timeline of high school graduation, four years of college and then graduating is not a reality for some young adults. Your child may want to take a gap year before heading into their studies or might choose to study abroad rather than at a local university.
Flexibility is key in these types of agreements, so including how you will address significant changes — such as a gap year or your child only attending school part time — is important. You may also want to consider adding language that confirms both of your continued financial support throughout the college experience to avoid one of you trying to back out of the agreement.
Set your child up for success
Obtaining a college degree is not the only path to a successful career, but it is increasingly becoming a requirement in many industries. Unfortunately, with the rising cost of tuition, some young adults in Florida simply cannot take on the debt associated with earning a degree.
Financial help and support can make the process of attending an institute of higher learning easier, and can set your child on a path towards a better future. To make sure nothing gets in the way of that opportunity, be sure to include how you will help pay for their college education in your divorce settlement.