As every parent knows, children are expensive -- and that doesn't change as they get older. Once your child enters college, they are bound to have some considerable expenses.
Under Colorado law, child support orders entered after July 1, 1997 cannot include a court-mandated order of support for college (post-secondary school) expenses. However, that doesn't mean that parents can't make agreements that will define who has to pay for what expenses.
Even if your children are toddlers, it's wise to negotiate this issue with your spouse during your divorce. That way, your kids won't be left in the lurch later. Some of the issues you should discuss include:
- What are your joint hopes for your child's education? Are you both willing to foot the bills for a private college, or do you feel like a state college is sufficient to meet your child's needs?
- What do you consider "ordinary" or "reasonable" college expenses? They normally include things like tuition, books and fees. However, parents shouldn't miss the opportunity to talk about other expenses. For example, what about room and board? Will you only pay for a dorm? Are you willing to pay for an apartment instead?
- Are transportation costs part of college expenses? In some locations, a student can't get by without a vehicle. However, a car payment and car insurance can be burdensome for parents.
- What about the "incidentals" of college life? Will you and your co-parent split the cost of your child's dorm or apartment furnishings? Who sets the limit on what will be spent?
Talking about these issues now can make your post-divorce life much smoother. For more tailored advice regarding your divorce, talk to an experienced attorney.