Many Minneapolis and Lakeville parents are preparing to send their child off to college and with a major institution like the University of Minnesota just around the corner, the expense of a college education can be as scary as it is exciting to see your son or daughter start a new journey. Some of these parents may be going through a divorce, placing added financial stress on both the splitting spouses and their child.

However, the cost of college can be split amongst the parents in an equitable and manageable way. Building provisions in to your divorce agreement can protect both you and your spouse during a divorce, and even help your child with financial aid. Without such an agreement, a divorcing couple may be burdened with circumstances that cause anger and further litigation.

The first thing to do is clearly outline which parent pays for what. For example, will dad be paying for a majority of the tuition? Or will it be split evenly among both parents? Does mom take on housing expenses while dad pays for books and supplies? Defining how every piece of the college puzzle gets paid for gives you and your spouse a personalized plan that can alleviate the anxiety of the situation.

Be sure to have disability and life insurance requirements that cover any education obligations defined within the agreement. Should a parent unfortunately pass away or lose the ability to work, the absence of insurance could leave you saddled with unexpected debt. Along the same lines, cap your expenses. Clauses that place thresholds and limitations on the amount of expenses paid on college and the amount of time you are financially obligated for college can really help.

Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce Questions: How Is College Tuition Divided Among Exes?,” Honoree Corder and Beth Walker, April 17, 2012