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Paying for a child's college costs when going through divorce

When a North Carolina couple has a child, they might set up a plan for helping that child with any future college costs he or she may have. However, a divorce could upset that financial plan, especially once parents realize that they are suddenly paying for two households instead of one.

College costs for the 2017-2018 school year averaged around $47,000 for a private nonprofit school and about $20,700 for public in-state schools. Costs seem to be rising by about 3 percent every year, making college increasingly more expensive to attend. Even so, according to a study by TD Ameritrade, about 66 percent of all married couples do not have a financial plan in place that takes into account divorce. Once a divorce does occur, there is often less money to go around, potentially causing kids to put their college dreams on hold.

Parents should be realistic with their kids about their financial situations, especially if the kids are relying on the parents to help. As such, it should be noted that parents are not obligated to help pay for the costs of education beyond high school. If parents are planning to get divorced, they should have a discussion with their child about what financial help the child can expect from either parent so that he or she can plan for the future.

When parents decide it is time to end their marriage, there are many divorce legal issues that will need to be decided. The actual divorce process can be complex; parents have to come to agreements over a variety of different topics, like child support, before the divorce can be finalized. A family law attorney may represent one parent to protect his or her interests, especially if there is a child involved.

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