When it comes to divorce, kids naturally come first. This is why child custody arrangements, including child support payments, are of primary concern when hammering out the details of a divorce. As your children grow, however, visitation schedules become less relevant and larger issues such as college costs loom. In the turmoil of divorce, it is easy to lose sight of the cost of higher education. Consult with an experienced Central Texas divorce attorney regarding whether your divorcing spouse’s responsibility for contributing to your children’s college tuition should factor into your divorce.
Your Children’s Education
Texas courts make divorce-related decisions based on what is in the best interests of the children. In the process, both parents are granted basic rights and responsibilities:
- To provide financial support for the children
- To provide an education for the children
- To direct the moral and religious training of the children
From the court’s perspective, however, these rights and responsibilities generally extend only until the children turn 18 or graduate from high school (whichever happens later).
Your Children’s Best Interests
Obviously, furthering their education past high school is likely to be in your children’s best interests. Although the court does not address college tuition costs in the course of determining the outcome of a divorce, this does not mean that you cannot include such terms in your own divorce arrangements.
Negotiating with Your Spouse
Your children’s continuing education is obviously very important to both of you as parents, and including negotiations regarding the attendant financial responsibility in your divorce can help you accomplish this important goal. In fact, some divorcing spouses who are not amenable to negotiations regarding the just and right division of marital property are more open to committing to providing for their children’s higher educations. Including these terms in your divorce makes them enforceable by the court.
A Verbal Agreement
Many divorcing couples make verbal agreements regarding their children’s college educations. While this may seem adequate at the time – especially when your children are very young – Texas courts do not enforce such agreements. Life has a way of interrupting our plans, but including concrete terms in your divorce decree can help provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your children’s educations are better secured.