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Should a child support agreement cover college expenses?

Most parents in Colorado will do everything they can to ensure their child has the best upbringing possible, even if the parents are divorced. Child support payments after a divorce are supposed to ensure that a child's upbringing does not suffer because the legal relationship between parents has come to an end. Based on what the divorcing couple agrees on, child support payments can cover school fees, medical costs and daily expenses. Unfortunately, many people do not think of the long-term costs of child-rearing and instead focus their child support agreements on short-term potential expenses. Therefore, college expenses often end up neglected at the time the child support order is established, and thus this expense may be contested in the future.

The end of a Colorado marriage definitely has an impact on a child's college plans. While some states require addressing college costs in child support agreements, others do not, which is why it can slip through the cracks. Even those states that require it only need the agreement to outline the contributions the parents will make for higher education.

Divorcing couples with young children may not want to argue about something that will happen ten or more years down the road. But, including some language about paying for college in their child support agreement can give it the status of a legal order. Those writing it down should mention where the money is coming from, such as a 529 and what it will cover, such as tuition, cellphones, laptops and books. A child support agreement should also cover alternative circumstances, such as a child not attending college or taking a gap year.

Looking at the cost of state universities can help serve as a guideline, but it must be kept in mind that the cost of education varies from state to state and college to college. Additionally, it might also be mentioned that parents pitch in only after the child has exhausted other avenues of financial aid.

While it may seem like these issues will arise in the future, it is better to be prepared rather than asking the parent for help years down the line and having no recourse. To ensure one has covered all aspects of a child's well-being in the child support agreement, it might be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
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