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How divorce affects school choice

| Mar 16, 2021 | Divorce

As North Carolina parents maneuver the many decisions regarding their children during a divorce, one of the ones that might lead to a deep divide is that of school choice. Where children will go to school, from preschool to college and who will pay for this can become a big challenge to overcome.

Private versus public is often the big question

Private schooling can be very expensive, and when divorcing parents disagree over which choice is best for their children, the financial negotiations between the ex-spouses can come to a halt. With primary and secondary education costing sometimes as much as many colleges, parents will also need to figure out who will pay for these costs. Tuition is not the only educational expense parents must negotiate. Other expenses include:

  • School lunches
  • School supplies
  • Teachers’ gifts
  • Field trips
  • Extra-curricular activities sponsored by the school or student clubs

College costs can rise even higher when room and board, books, supplies and even travel costs are added in.

What can parents do to address college education costs in the divorce settlement?

During divorce, parents can try to prevent later issues by negotiating what they will pay for and how much each will pay. Some divorce settlements include a clause that states that both parents must approve of the college their child will attend. Others can include a provision that puts a limit on how much parents will pay for college. Using a 529 state plan to save money for their children’s college education, with the added bonus that contributions to this plan can be used as tax deductions, depending on the state, is also an option.

With educational costs continuing to rise, parents should establish clear rules and divisions of how to pay for these in their divorce settlement. They should also work together, if possible, to save for college costs for the future.