The often-extreme costs of post-secondary college education is a worry for any parent. Questions concerning affordability and the high-cost of student loans are in the news constantly. The issue is especially troublesome for parents contemplating an Ohio divorce or dissolution.
The Collaborative Divorce Process offers parents an opportunity to do creative planning for college expenses including tuition, room, board, and other related costs. In Ohio, the court system’s jurisdiction over a divorcing couples’ children typically ends at age eighteen or later, when the child graduates from an accredited high school. It would be very unusual for a court to order parents to pay for college for a child over eighteen years of age. So, if providing for your children’s college education is important, negotiations in a Collaborative Law process designed to end in Dissolution is the way to go.
After division of your marital assets and liabilities, including home equity and retirement accounts; and after settlement of child support and alimony issues, each spouse will know what contributions to college savings for each parent are feasible. Your children’s ages and the timing of any agreed upon college savings will also be factors to consider. In the negotiations, each parent must consider their own financial situation going forward. Then potential economic sacrifices can be assessed and measured.
Other options for protection of either parent’s situation include, the availability of financial aid to one household or the other; the child’s willingness to help pay expenses; private vs. public institutions; in-state vs. out-of-state; and even minimum grade point average and/or the number of semesters required to complete the degree limitations.