Graduation is right around the corner for high school students throughout the United States. The end of high school represents the end of childhood and many graduates decide to start college immediately after graduation. While this is a proud moment for any parent it also means the beginning of a new financial burden that could last four years or longer. Paying tuition for your child after a divorce is often stressful, especially if you and your former spouse are not on good terms. Fortunately, there are ways to handle college tuition after a divorce is finalized.
Explore Grants and Financial Aid
The single parent of a child may qualify for special grants designed to help the children of one-parent households go to college. Colleges offer private grants for deserving children who suffer the financial disadvantages associated with a single-parent household. Other nonprofit organizations also provide students with scholarships if their families demonstrate need, and based on your household income, federal grants are available. These grants and financial aid do not require any repayment, and qualifying students can receive up to $5,550 annually through federal grant programs.
College Savings Plan
If possible, start a college savings account to begin accumulating the money needed to send your child to college. Using the 529 College Savings Plan instead of a traditional savings account allows you to make tax free contributions. When the time comes for your child to go to college, you can begin withdrawing the funds you have saved to pay for tuition. As long as the money is used for educational purposes, these withdrawals are also tax free.
Reach Out to Your Ex
Even if you are not on the best of terms with your former spouse, it is a good idea to turn to him or her for help. Typically, once a child turns 18 and/or graduates high school, child support stops so your former spouse has the option of giving money directly to your mutual children or paying for educational expenses directly. While your former spouse might not be interested in helping you financially, he or she might wish to help your child attend college.
Talk to an Attorney
Educational support issues are a growing concern among divorcing adults with children. If your divorce or child support order is not finalized, a skilled child support attorney may be able to help you address the importance of education expenses. Resolving the question of what each parent is financially responsible for prior to your child’s graduation can take a lot of the burden off you and the affected child.
The lawyers at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand how important higher education is to most families. We are here to work with you to address your concerns regarding receiving financial assistance from your ex-spouse once the time for your child to start college arrives. Our team is ready to answer any questions that you have and help you decide what plan of action is best for your situation. Contact us to schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta area offices so that we can discuss your needs today.