Been saving for kids’ college costs? Address that during divorce.

There is obviously a lot to think about for many couples during the divorce process, which can increase the odds that something important might not be sufficiently addressed or even attended to. An experienced family law attorney can of course help ensure that something like that does not occur, that is, that a divorcing party’s interests are fully promoted across the entire spectrum of factors that are important in a dissolutoin.

That certainly encompasses matters pertaining to child custody and property division. In many instances, too, child support matters are of high importance.

Take college costs and any savings a couple has accumulated for that purpose, for example. Those are certainly within the realm of child support, although in a tangential way and in a manner not typically contemplated when the concept of “support” arises during divorce negotiations.

Any money that has been amassed for a child’s future college education should certainly be focused upon during divorce, given that the amount in some cases for parents who have been diligent about saving in a tax-sheltered 529 or other plan for many years can be considerable.

Without due attention paid to it, its intended purpose can be undermined. If not protected, for example, an irate former spouse could withdraw from it for any reason (as long as a tax penalty is paid if for non-educational uses).

Divorcing parties can work in the best interests of their kids by agreeing to freeze an account during divorce, so that money can only be withdrawn in the future for educational use of a designated child. A court can also order that an account be split between divorcing parties, with each contributing from it individually later in the amount tasked to pay for a child’s education.

Divorcing parties with questions or concerns about educational accounts and college savings should be sure to enlist the close scrutiny and involvement of a proven divorce lawyer with experience in that area.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Discuss college savings during divorce process,” Reyna Gobel, April 29, 2013

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