You have goals for your child’s future, and you’d like to see them go to college. Could your upcoming divorce put a damper on those plans.
In North Carolina, child support doesn’t automatically extend past high school. Normally, child support stops either when a child turns 18 years of age or graduates high school (whichever comes last) – with automatic termination at age 20 even if the child still hasn’t graduated.
You can, however, make an agreement with your ex-spouse about college expenses. Thinking about this as you negotiate your divorce could be essential to your child’s education.
What should you consider as part of an agreement?
If you and your spouse are fairly affluent, the odds are high that you will be expected to contribute to your child’s post-secondary education. During your negotiations, you should discuss:
- Whether you will both agree to fund any school your child wants to attend or only a state college
- How you will divide additional education costs, like books, lab fees, lab supplies and campus meal plans
- What kind of housing you will agree to provide for your child, whether that’s the cost of a dorm, a shared housing situation or a private apartment
- Who will pay for transportation costs, including things like a car and car insurance
- What other expenses you each consider “reasonable” for the situation, such as furniture, bedding and clothing
- Whether you are willing to pay for extracurriculars, including fees for a fraternity or sorority, fees for academic societies and fees for college sports
- Whether you are willing to fund any study abroad and if your child’s education would benefit from it
Talking about these things now can save you – and your child – a significant amount of grief in the future. When there’s a lot of money on the line, make sure you have experienced legal guidance in your corner.