Bringing up kids costs a pretty penny, and college is often the most expensive of them all. That’s why it’s important for divorcing parents to consider the cost of college when they divorce, especially since splitting up usually means tighter budgets for both parents.
Unfortunately, Florida law doesn’t require parents to pay any type of support once a child turns 18 or finishes high school, so the courts can’t order your spouse to contribute. The only way to obligate a parent to pay for college is to include it in a marital settlement agreement (MSA) that’s signed by both parties.
Some divorcing parents can be reluctant to divert funds from their new household to college expenses for their children, so it’s important to hire an experienced Orlando divorce attorney that knows how to negotiate and draft a valid and detailed MSA that obligates your ex to contribute to your child’s college costs.
What Should the MSA Say About College?
It’s important that the MSA include the details necessary to ensure that housing, transportation, books, furnishings and other expenses arising from a student attending college are covered. Depending on the circumstances, some MSA’s can include provisions that require the student to take out a certain amount of loans or to work to cover a portion of the expenses.
Unless you have a high net worth, there is usually a cap on the amount that each parent would agree to pay. MSA’s rarely cover the cost of graduate school, but if your spouse agrees, it’s legal to include it. Pay attention to clauses your spouse may want to include such as not be required to pay if they lose their job or their income declines.
This sounds reasonable, but it’s notoriously abused by unscrupulous greedy parents that quit their job to work off the books or claim their business has mysteriously become unprofitable. Having a tight agreement to cover the cost of college can save you tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s important to hire the best divorce lawyer in Orlando to negotiate its terms on your behalf.
Face the Future with Confidence
Achieving a settlement where your spouse is obligated to contribute to the cost of college takes the pressure off your finances and gives your children more choices about which program to attend. That’s why hiring our Orlando attorney is such a worthwhile investment in your children’s future.
When you want to face the future with confidence, contact The Law Office of Paulette Hamilton, P.A.