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Divorce could create challenges when funding college for kids

California couples going through a divorce need to plan for their financial lives going forward. Splitting one household into two often strains the resources of the parents, but it’s still possible to save for the children’s education. A divorce settlement should address college funds that the parents have already saved and, if possible, lay out a plan for continued saving and tuition payment in the future.

When a separating couple already has college savings, like a tax-deferred 529 plan, the spouses can establish in writing as part of their divorce decree how to treat the funds. In many cases, these accounts are set up under only one name. If the divorcing spouses distrust each other, they could divide the 529 account into two plans under separate names.

If the college savings are insufficient, the parents can strive to create a plan that will fund education. The insights of a financial planner could help a spouse design their post-divorce budgets. A divorce settlement could specify how much each parent pays toward the children’s education. However, it should be noted that family courts place a priority on child support and alimony based on the income of the two parties.

Any spouse who wants to end a marriage could benefit from legal advice. An attorney could evaluate the client’s finances and develop a personalized strategy. Legal counsel could also help the client understand options and make informed decisions when negotiating a divorce settlement. In certain situations, litigation might be necessary to defend a client’s position.