While divorce means the end of marriage, it is not the end of parenting
responsibilities and the concerns you may have for your children and their
futures. While the immediate milestones are most likely at the forefront
of your mind, long-term considerations such as college should also be
addressed in your divorce settlement.
In Colorado, when parents get divorced or determine parenting nights and
responsibilities child support is awarded to provide financial support
for the child through the payment of child support. Absent further formal
agreement between the parents, a parent’s obligation to pay child
support ends when the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever
occurs later. Once a child is emancipated there is no legal obligation
to continue financially supporting the child. This means without a written
agreement, there is no obligation on either party to pay for the children’s
college education and expenses.
Colorado courts allow a voluntary agreement between parents for the payment
of a child’s higher education. When constructing such an agreement
it is important to consider the multitude of factors that may arise. For
example, what expenses are considered college expenses? Is there a limit
on the expenses? How will the parties share in the costs? Where will the
payments be made? Are any performance obligations going to be placed on
the children? And finally, how will tax benefits for college expenses
be allocated? It is important to include as many terms in the stipulation
as possible to limit future conflict and enhance enforceability.
Our experienced and passionate family law attorneys understand it is difficult
to determine how to pay for children’s college expenses after divorce
and are familiar with local and state laws regarding children in divorce
and the complexities surrounding those areas. We are ready and able to
assist you through this process. If you are considering a divorce, or
already in the midst of divorce proceedings and have questions or concerns, please
contact us today.