When divorcing clients come to mediation to work out a parenting plan, they are often surprised that the agreement for paying for their children's expenses extends all the way through college.
In New Jersey, the courts have long viewed post high school education as a necessity for which parents are at least partially responsible. Therefore, it needs to be part of every divorcing couple's parenting plan. As tempting as it may be, ignoring this issue now will not make the obligation to contribute to your kids' education go away. In fact, if you do not address college as part of your divorce agreement, the court may later impose its own plan based on your children's needs and goals and both parents' resources.
As part of the divorce mediation process, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, we help divorcing couples come up with a plan for paying for college for their kids regardless of how old their kids are now. We talk about all the relevant factors -- costs, decision-making, college savings plans and applying for financial aid. Of course, it is hard to predict your children's future educational needs and wants. Still, we have found that having a basic framework in place helps avoid big arguments and litigation expenses down the road.
For more information about separation agreements or divorce mediation, please contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, M. Ed., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, at Westfield Mediation, LLC.