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Tips for divorced parents on paying for a child's future education

Many parents have dreams of one day seeing their child graduate from college. While a child's discipline and hard work may result in acceptance to several reputable colleges, affording a higher education is often challenging for many families. Most parents struggle with how to pay for a child's education. In cases where parents are divorced, the struggle may be that much more complex and potentially problematic.

As with most things in life, taking the time to plan to save is essential to ensuring the funds are available when it comes time for a child to head off to pursue their educational aspirations. Doing so, however, can be difficult for divorced parents who may have divorced 10 or more years ago and failed to address questions related to a child's future educational needs at that time.

For parents with minor aged children who are going through a divorce, it's important to address questions related to the future financial needs associated with college. While it's likely that both parents financial situation will change, if say a couple divorces when a child is five-years-old, it's important to get something in writing. For example, if both parents agree to pay for 50 percent of a child's college tuition, this agreement can serve as a starting point for future discussions.

In addition to talking about a child's future educational needs, divorcing parents would also be wise to protect assets intended for a child's education from being dispersed during a divorce. Putting money in a 529 college savings fund or an account in the child's name can help ensure it's protected and not on the table when it comes time for assets to be distributed and bills paid.

The costs associated with college are high and it's never too early to start planning. For divorced parents, it's important to keep the lines of communication open and discuss and revisit higher education funding plans.

Source: The Huffington Post, "4 Ways Divorced Parents Can Plan For Their Kids' College Tuition," Geoff Williams, Feb. 28, 2014

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