Paying for Your Child’s Education After Divorce
The cost of obtaining a post-secondary education, whether at a university or technical training school, has become increasingly expensive. For this reason, it is not uncommon for couples who are going through a divorce to worry about how their child’s education will be provided for down the road. Generally, Florida only requires that parents pay child support until their child reaches the age of 18 years old. When it comes to navigating a payment arrangement for a child’s post-secondary education, however, there are other options available to divorcing parents, so if you and your spouse have decided to get divorced and you have questions about how to cover the cost of your child’s education, it is important to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you accordingly.
Child Support Obligations
While the responsibility to financially provide for a child doesn’t extend to paying for a child’s college education, many parents still decide to help finance these costs, even after divorce. In cases where both parents want to help pay for their child’s future education, it is important for the parties to develop detailed terms demonstrating this intent in a settlement agreement. This is a critical step in the process of providing for a child, as judges don’t usually place terms related to college funding into child support awards. Instead, the child’s parents will need to voluntarily negotiate a settlement agreement outside of the child support order that covers the division of any funds necessary to finance the child’s education, as well as the terms by which one or both parties must abide.
The Terms of Your Settlement Agreement
Even if included, terms related to the financing of a child’s education will only be enforceable by a court if they are clear and specific and cover certain issues, including who will be making payments. If, for instance, only one parent has agreed to help pay for a child’s college, then that person’s name should be clearly stated. If, on the other hand, both parties have agreed to contribute, then both individuals’ names should be noted, as well as the percentage for which each is responsible for paying.
Similarly, the form of all payments should be clarified. For example, it is not uncommon for one parent to agree to make the whole tuition payment to a school and then be reimbursed by the other parent, while others choose to make individual payments directly to the university. It’s also important to include details about whether the payments will be broken down into semesters or paid up front at the beginning of the academic year. Both parties should also clearly state how long they will be obligated to make support payments, with many families choosing to limit the number of years that they will provide support, while others agree to pay until a certain degree is achieved.
Call Today for Legal Help
If you and your spouse wish to help pay for your child’s post-secondary education, you may need the assistance of an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer to help you draft an enforceable settlement agreement. Please call dedicated family law attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today to learn more.