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Child college costs should be considered in divorce mediation

Terminating a marriage can be expensive. For parents, this strain can affect everyone in the family, particularly children with financial needs. Louisiana parents who have financial obligations related to their children's current or future college tuition should be sure to raise these expenses and associated savings during divorce mediation.

According to the College Board, the cost of tuition, fees and room and board at a private nonprofit college is now approximately $46,950 per year for a four-year program. Costs for an in-state public college averages $20,770. This cost rises an average of 3 percent per year.

Parents often save in hopes of supporting children at least partially with these expenses. However, when parents divorce, there tends to be less money to go around as there are now two households to manage rather than one. Child support for minor children and spousal support take precedent over higher education expenses, according to family law. For this reason, parents may need to be realistic about their ability to pay in light of the divorce-related expenses. 

Many parents are able to at least help their children through a college education, even when balancing divorce expenses. The best way to do this is to undergo divorce mediation where the needs of children come first. It's important not to put savings earmarked for education in between feuding spouses; utilizing a 529 plan to clarify what money is for education can help prevent this in case of a divorce. Those looking for legal representation during divorce mediation should contact a Louisiana attorney.

Source: CNBC, "How to keep your divorce from sabotaging your children's college education", Lorie Konish, May 18, 2018

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