Divorce can be a difficult process, especially when there are children involved. One of the questions that often arises is how divorced parents will cover college tuition for their children.
In Pennsylvania, parents are not legally obligated to pay for their children's college tuition. However, if the parents are divorced or separated, they may agree to cover some of the costs associated with college tuition as part of a divorce settlement. This could include tuition fees, housing costs, and other educational expenses beyond high school graduation.
It is important to note that child support payments can extend past the child's 18th birthday to cover college expenses until the child graduates. Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide whether or not they will contribute financially towards their child's college education. This blog post will provide an overview of the options available to divorced parents who want to make sure their children receive the higher education they deserve.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
One of the first steps divorced parents should take is to look into financial aid and scholarship opportunities for their children. While this won't necessary cover all tuition costs, it can help reduce the overall cost of college for the child.
Financial aid and scholarships can come from both private and public sources, such as colleges and universities, organizations, foundations, corporations, and even the government. It's important to start researching these options early on so that your child has time to apply for any relevant opportunities before they enroll in school.
Custody Agreement Provisions
Another option is to include a clause in your custody agreement or divorce settlement that outlines how you plan to handle college tuition costs after divorce. A properly constructed clause will determine who pays what percentage of tuition costs as well as any other related expenses such as books or room and board. This legal document also gives both parties a clear understanding of their financial responsibilities and provides legal standing if either party fails to fulfill those obligations in the future.
529 College Savings Plan
A third option is to use a 529 college savings plan. This type of plan allows parents or grandparents (or anyone else) to save money for college expenses tax-free by investing it in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other investments with predetermined tax benefits. The money saved in this type of plan can then be used for eligible educational expenses such as:
- tuition fees,
- room and board costs,
- textbooks, and
- other supplies associated with attending college or up $10,000 per year in K-12 tuition.
Those who make withdrawals from the account do not have to deal with additional taxes on removals made from the account. Also, most states offer additional incentives such as tax deductions on contributions made towards 529 plans set up within state borders which can help increase your savings even more over time.
As of the beginning of 2023, the state tax benefits for Pennsylvanians with 529 plans have increased. If you have a PA 529 account, you can deduct up $17,000 of contributions to your account or $34,000 (if you are filing jointly as a couple). This tax deduction is available to any contributor, including family members or friends.
Experienced Family Law Attorney
Divorce can be a difficult topic to deal with when it comes to the financial aspect of college tuition, but there are a lot of options available that can help ensure that your children receive a good education. If you have any questions or wish to discuss possible solutions regarding tuition after divorce, William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys are available to provide comprehensive counsel tailored to your individual needs and goals.
Our firm handles a wide range of family law matters, including child custody and support and divorce cases. If you are worried about how your child’s secondary education will be covered, we can discuss your legal options and the laws governing your case.
Contact William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys today by calling (215) 515-9901 to take the next step and get started on your case.