Divorce and college expenses: what's the cost? | Lane & Lane, LLC
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Divorce and college expenses: what's the cost?

Children of divorce are affected in many ways after their parents split but now, with skyrocketing tuition costs, they are also suffering in the area of higher education. A study conducted by Rice University and University of Wisconsin professors has shown that children affected by divorce receive only 42 percent of college costs from their parents, versus 77 percent by parents who stay together. These statistics may encourage New Jersey parents to bring up college costs during the property settlement portion of their divorce, no matter how young their children may be.

One such case led to a lawsuit filed by a daughter against her father. The woman was a college student when her parents divorced. Believing her father would probably stop paying her tuition at some point in the future, she created a contract for him to sign that stated he would continue to pay her college costs until she turned 25 years old. In return for his help with college, she agreed to apply to scholarships and other types of financial aid.

When she was a senior, he stopped paying for college and she filed a lawsuit against him. Although her father counter-sued and claimed she did not live up to her end of the bargain, the judge ultimately sided with the daughter and awarded her attorney fees and $47,000. While this is a strange case and probably resulted in difficulties in their relationship, it still highlights the difficulties parents can have in paying for their education, especially when one person has to foot the entire bill.

Children of divorce have enough hurdles to climb without having to worry about who will pay for their education. New Jersey parents may wish to consider this case and bring this up during their divorce settlement. No matter how young or old the children are, it is never too early to start planning for their higher education.

Source: Naples Daily News, "Cost of college a burden for children of divorce," Ed Greenberger, June 28, 2012

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