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Child support: Plan for college expenses despite divorced

On average, college tuition in Pennsylvania and across the United States is increasing at a rate of about 3 percent every year. The cost of college tuition can be staggering if parents do not plan ahead. The average cost of a private school can be as much as $46,950 a year and public schools as much as $20,770 a year. Unfortunately, the costs of child support, alimony and double living expenses may make it tempting to delay saving for a child's college education.

When a divorce occurs, a family typically faces significant extra costs that they did not experience while married. Most families require two places to live and double the utility costs. In addition to added costs, one spouse may be ordered to pay child support and spousal support.

Because two-thirds of couples do not have a financial plan, some couples find it helpful to enlist the advice of a financial planner when discussing desired settlement terms with their respective attorneys. Although a spouse can be ordered to assist with higher education costs, divorce settlements typically do not include graduate school or include demands for a spouse to pay for a specific school. College accounts such as 529 funds are used by many couples to help them plan ahead and save toward a child's education whether they are divorcing or not.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for a couple to divorce without affecting a child's life or future. Careful planning, negotiating and the right approach can reduce the impact on a child's life. Pennsylvania family attorneys are skilled in advising clients on the best approach to child support and all divorce matters.

Source: Lorie Konish, "How to keep your divorce from sabotaging your children's college education", Lorie Konish, May 18, 2018

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