Among the many issues facing parties while going through the divorce process is the question of who is responsible for the out of pocket costs for higher education. There is no set formula to determine this. However, there are certain parameters which are important to keep in mind.
First, once the parties have agreed where the child is going to attend college, an application for financial aid is mandatory if financial circumstances dictate same. The income of both parties will be considered. There will generally be an obligation to apply for all available financial aid, whether from the college itself or Federal and State grants, loans and scholarships, The parties, despite their differences on many things should attempt to cooperate in these applications as it will save both out of pocket expenses.
Once the financial aid package is determined, is critical to know that BOTH parents have an obligation to contribute to the out of pocket expenses The percentages will be determined by the respective incomes of the parties as well as their own financial needs and ability to pay. Therefore, be certain to be prepared to demonstrate your financial condition and your potential ability to contribute to the child’s expenses. If there is a college fund that had previously been established, those funds must be applied first in addition to any financial aid before determining the out of pocket costs.
The determination of the obligation for college can be confusing and financially critical. Be certain to review this issue carefully with your attorney to assure that you are fully protected and your child is as well.