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Who is Going to Pay the Kids' College Tuition After Divorce

E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law  Nov. 24, 2022

In a divorce case involving children, parents often establish quality child support arrangements to cater to their kids' financial needs and living expenses. In addition, the parent may also want to make provisions for their child's college tuition. If you are a parent in this position, speaking with a Virginia family law attorney is extremely beneficial. 

Attorney Gordon Peters has the resources to support and guide clients in divorce and child support-related matters. Gordon is available to discuss your situation and can help evaluate your possible options to pay your child's college tuition after your marital dissolution. The firm proudly serves clients across Lynchburg, Blackstone, Prince Edward County, Campbell County, and Amherst County, Virginia. 

Is Paying for College an Obligation for Divorced Parents in Virginia? 

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, divorced parents are not required to pay for their adult child's college education. Essentially, the obligation to pay court-ordered child support in the Old Dominion ends when the child turns 18 years, graduates high school, or becomes legally emancipated. As a result, child support payments won't cover the child's college tuition or other college-related bills.  

Options to Consider 

However, it is possible for a single parent to expect their child's other parent to contribute or provide for their child's college expenses. When dealing with your child's college tuition matter, here are some important considerations: 

Consider Establishing a Voluntary Agreement 

In the divorce settlement, you need to discuss, negotiate, and reach an agreement – with your estranged partner – about how to pay for your child's college tuition and other college-related expenses. The agreement should be well-detailed and properly documented. Also, it should contain the following information: 

  • The amount to be contributed by each parent. 

  • The costs included in the payments – such as school, books, study materials, room and board, and daily living expenses. 

  • How either party will make the payments. 

  • When the parents are expected to make the payment. 

  • Whether the agreement can be adjusted. 

  • Any conditions which the child must meet to continue receiving financial assistance from the parents. 

Consider Setting Up A College Fund 

Alternatively, the divorcing parents can pay for their children's college tuition and other school expenses by creating a college fund. This may require setting up a trust or escrow account to hold the contributions until a future date. Among the benefits of setting up a trust for college funds is that it offers adequate protection, and either parent may be unable to violate the agreement later on. 

Consider Seeking Financial Aid 

Additionally, parents may pay for their child's college tuition by seeking financial aid and grants. The possible options include: 

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Expected Family Contribution (EFC). 

  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG). 

However, some of these financial aids are often based on the custodial parent and other financial circumstances. Hence, you will need to consult with a skilled child support attorney to determine who is in the best position to file your application. 

Consider Cost When Choosing a School 

Finally, when choosing between private school and state school, you should consider the tuition and other expenses. Also, consider a situation where your child secures admission into an out-of-state institution. Due to this, you must collaborate with your child's other parent to establish a sharing formula or payment plan for the cost of your child’s college tuition. 

Discover Your Options Today   

When establishing child support arrangements, parents are not obligated to pay for the college tuition of their adult child. Nonetheless, the divorcing parents may still expect their ex-partner (their child's other parent) to provide or contribute to the education and future of their children. 

Attorney Gordon Peters enjoys helping clients navigate crucial decisions regarding children’s college tuition when making child support agreements. As your lawyer, Gordon can educate you about the legal options available to you and help determine which one is right for your family. 

Whether you want to establish a voluntary agreement, set up a college fund, select a school, or file for financial aid, Attorney Gordon Peters can guide you through the legal processes involved. He will keep fighting for your family's best interests and work intelligently with you and your child's other parent to negotiate a feasible settlement agreement. 

Contact E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law, today to arrange a consultation with a trusted child support lawyer. Attorney Gordon Peters has the knowledgeable guidance and brilliant advocacy you need to make informed decisions. The firm proudly serves clients across Lynchburg, Blackstone, Prince Edward County, Campbell County, and Amherst County, Virginia.