Who Pays for the Children's College Education?

Posted By Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.

7 Sep. 2018

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.

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