As many Georgia high school seniors start receiving their college acceptance letters this time of year, their parents are left to figure out how to fund their educational needs. When parents are divorced or are starting down the path toward divorce, this issue can become trickier.
As explained by Forbes, child support awards do not typically incude requirements to pay for college. However, separate provisions can be developed and added to a divorce decree. Exactly what these provisions may state can vary from family to family. Some people may find it beneficial to establish trust or escrow accounts into which money can be added over the course of time. Other people may prefer that lump sums are given up front toward a future education. Some of these details may be impacted by the age of the child or children at the time of the divorce.
It is also important when identifying plans about which parent will pay for college that discussions about what will be paid for are included. Tuition is far from the only cost incurred. Room, board, books and basic living allowances will also be needed. One parent may be willing to pay tuition while the other parent may agree to pay the rest. Other parents might opt to split everything.
When it comes time to file for financial aid, the government does not consider custodial parents in the same way that the courts might. According to Nerd Wallet, even in a joint custody situation, only one parent will be deemed the custodial parent. That is the person with whom the child lived the most number of days in the prior year. It is that parent’s financial information that need be reported on federal financial aid forms.