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Does Your Divorce Decree Cover College Tuition?

Your Divorce Attorney In Madison, WI Can Protect Your Child’s Future

If you are contemplating divorce or separation, how do you successfully plan ahead for the college education of your children? Wisconsin law does not mandate that child support payments continue past the age of 18 or 19 if the child is still in high school. Your divorce attorney in Madison, WI can help advocate for this contingency to be covered in your divorce settlement, legal separation, or annulment proceedings.

Your Divorce Attorney In Madison, WI Can Do What Courts Cannot

As a parent, perhaps with a college degree of your own, who wishes your child will have the opportunity to pursue higher education, you should make sure that your lawyer advocates for written provisions for future college support in your divorce settlement. Since children have no “rights” to have a college education in most states, you do not want to leave the question of higher education to the goodwill of your ex-spouse.

Even if your ex is an honorable person who takes all responsibilities to the kids seriously, there is no legal way to enforce good intentions or verbal promises. Your spouse will still have to agree to provisions about college tuition, but if they are not willing to discuss the subject now, there is little likelihood that they will want to renegotiate and add it later.

Limitations On Tuition Support

This does not mean that the sky’s the limit when it is time for the child to go to college. Even in states such as Massachusetts, Michigan, or South Carolina where the courts will extend child support to cover college costs, it is common for the paperwork to contain some parameters of what each spouse would pay. This might be an annual payment, limited to a maximum length of time, or based on tuition rates at a state school. Paperwork set up by your divorce attorney should have contingencies that protect both spouses as well as the children.

Divorce decrees should shield a child from a severe change in standard of living, yet this is often an unfortunate side effect of divorce when both parties lose access to the benefits of shared income. Even if children are very young at the time of divorce or separation, including the framework to provide for college is a wise idea that:

  • Protects children from the original marriage, even if the divorcing spouses go on to have additional families
  • Gives both parents the opportunity to establish an educational savings account that requires modest payments over time
  • Sets up negotiating points if circumstances change

Eisenberg Law Can Help You

When you seek a divorce attorney in Madison, make sure to consider the educational needs of your children. Wisconsin courts cannot order your former partner to pay educational support by law unless you have language that mandates this in your divorce settlement.