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How Divorce Affects Your Children’s College Education

One of many issues that need to be resolved in a divorce with children, is the issue of college.  Here is what you need to know about how college expenses in a divorce.

Who gets to pick the college the child attends? 

It is very rare for a divorce agreement to specify exactly which college the child will attend.  However, there are agreements that will state that the child has to at least apply to College X and in other agreements that the child has to apply to at least one State University of New York college or university.  In virtually all cases, the child will get to choose which college he/she wants to attend.  If one of the parents disputes that choice, then they will have a heavy burden to show why that particular college is not right for the child.

Who pays for college?

Your divorce agreement should contain the terms and conditions on how much each parent will need to pay for college.  If your divorce agreement is silent on this issue, then one parent may be able to go back to Court to have the other parent pay part or perhaps even all of the college expenses.

If, the Court has to decide who pays for college, then there are a few factors the Court will consider in making that decision.  In simple terms, if you or your spouse attended college, then most likely, the Court will make the parents pay for the child’s college education.  Also, if the child has other attributes that makes the child a good candidate for college, then the Court will also most likely make the parents pay for the child’s college education.

How much do I have to pay for college?

In addition to deciding who has to pay for college, your divorce agreement should specify how much each parent will have to pay for college. Typically, there will be an upper limit to how much each parent has to pay.  In most agreements, the parties will agree that the most they have to pay is what it would cost for the child to attend a SUNY school.

If there was no agreement, then the Court will decide how much each parent has to pay.  In that instance, it is likely that Court will make each parent pay their pro-rata share of the child’s college expenses.

What about college tours?

These days, it is common for parents and their children to go on several tours of different colleges.  Whether or not you go on a college tour with your child, will be something you should be able to work out with your child.

If you are getting divorce, there are several issues you will need to address.  David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office has the experience to guide you through these issues. Contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702 or email at david@dbnylaw.com.

The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Uniondale, across from the Nassau Coliseum).

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