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Who pays for post-secondary education after divorce?

A college education does not come cheaply. Tuition rates have been rising steadily and the average cost to put a child through a post-secondary education in Michigan today is more than $14,000 a year according to recent statistics. But what happens when parental divorce is in the equation? Who pays for the children’s higher educations?

In Michigan, there is no obligation to support a child after the child reaches 18 years of age unless the child is attending high school full time beyond that age, but never after the child reaches 19 1/2 years old. So, in the event of divorce, experts suggest parents come to an agreement about who pays what for their children’s educations. There is also the possibility the child may qualify for financial aid based on the income of parents.

Having a written agreement can stipulate each parent’s financial obligations toward the college educations of their children. The agreement can speak to other aspects of education such as colleges the child should or shouldn’t attend. An agreement can also break down elements like room and board, meal plans, books and supplies and others. This type of document should be as complete as possible.

Talking about who pays for a child’s college education after divorce may be challenging. It might be beneficial for each parent to seek independent legal advice from a Michigan attorney before, during and after drafting an agreement. Doing so may avoid any uncertainty or disputes when the time comes for the agreement to come into effect.