Figuring higher education into divorce settlements

From the cost of books to transportation to living expenses to tuition itself, the price of going to school for a college degree and/or certificate is certainly steep these days. In fact, countless families throughout Salt Lake City, Utah, and elsewhere confront serious financial difficulties over higher education expenses. It’s no wonder, then, costs related to higher education often factor into divorce mediation and settlement cases.

Because the process of determining what role, if any expenses relating to higher education play in a divorce, it is always recommended that individuals seek the counsel of an experienced divorce attorney before making any arrangement with their spouse. For one thing, there are instances where a monetary value is actually placed on the degree that resulted from the education. And while that practice is not necessarily standard, it’s more likely that any financial support provided by one spouse to the other during the period they were going to school may be considered. Spousal support payments can be determined at least in part by deciding how dependent the student spouse was on the financial support of the providing spouse.

And when it comes to divorcing couples with children, the higher education ambitions of the kids can be taken into consideration as well. Since both parents can be held accountable for the care and financial needs of children that are not yet emancipated, it is recommended that parents facing divorce be very clear and specific about whether and how they intend to financially support their kids through college. If a divorce settlement does include details concerning expenses like tuition and books, it’s important that both parties understand that they are agreeing to a legally binding contract that cannot easily be altered in the future. 

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