Not all divorces are ugly. Many people decide to part ways gracefully on mutual agreement. While divorce does help individuals without children start fresh, it’s not as simple if you’ve got kids. You may not be man and wife post-divorce, but you’ll remain parents to your kids, which you’ve got to honor for the rest of your life.
After a divorce, one of the parents is given custody of the child as the primary guardian who the child lives with. That doesn’t mean the other parent must completely disconnect from their child’s life. They can still make important life decisions for the child with their ex-spouse. Keeping the child’s well-being and future should always be the topmost priority when co-parenting, and your conflicts shouldn’t come in the way of that.
Having said that, one of the biggest challenges for divorced people after the divorce is splitting the children’s educational expenses. Both parents can decide how they want to take the finances forward; most of the time, open communication is all you need.
If you’re considering divorce or in the process of it and are concerned about how divorced parents split educational expenses, we’ve got you covered. You already have a lot on your plate, and we don’t want you to worry about your child’s educational expenses!
The back-to-school season is one of the most challenging times of the year for divorced parents. Your child is returning to school after a long vacation, and so much needs to be done. If one parent is made to bear all the expenses, it can get too much. On average, a family spends about $272 to $360 per child during this time. Families that can afford it will spend much more on clothes and school supplies.
Back-to-school expenses include tuition fees, uniforms or clothes, school supplies, transportation, and computers and technology. Ideally, both parents should discuss which of these expenses are necessary and which aren’t as essential and can be skipped. This way, the expense per child can decrease, and both parents can divide equally or depend on what each parent can afford.
Private School Fee
Private schools are costly. No parent would think they’ll get divorced when admitting their child to a private school. So, when they separate, the expense has to be divided because one parent can’t possibly cover it alone. Some schools are as expensive as a private university tuition fee. A private school fee can go as high as $10,000 per year or even more.
Children get child support payments which are enough to cover day-to-day expenses. Both parents should work to make a plan together and see what works best for them. Some options that divorced parents can look into for private school expenses are:
- Split the tuition fee equally
- The parent that earns more pays the full tuition fee or covers a major part of it (60 to 70%)
- Apply for financial aid or scholarships
Most school-going children like to participate in extracurricular activities of their choice. According to the findings of the US Census Bureau, about 42% of children of school-going age are involved in sports, 30% are involved in private lessons like music, and about 28% are involved in different clubs. Some are involved in all three. And it goes without saying these extracurricular activities can be quite expensive.
In some cases, both parents can divide the expenses equally. However, one parent may not agree to pay at all because they find the extracurricular activities unnecessary. Sometimes, a mediator can help reach an agreement. Some possible options include the following:
- One parent pays for one activity, and the other pays for the other
- The parent that wants the child to participate in the activity when the other parent doesn’t agree pays for it entirely.
Some states like Florida don’t require you to pay for your child’s college fees, but some states do. If you live in a state where you’re required to pay college fees, it’s best to sit down with your ex-partner and discuss how college expenses will be managed. From the tuition fee to moving expenses to living expenses, you need to have a clear conversation with the other parent and get clarity of who’ll pay for what.
If your child is already in the university or will be going to university soon at the time of your splitting with your partner, you need to sit down with the co-parent and decide how you plan to pay for your child’s university fee. The average fee of a public university in the US can be between $5,000 to $10,000, and private university fees can go as high as $40,000.
Some ways divorced parents can manage their child’s university expenses post-divorce are:
- Set up a separate saving account for your child in which both parents deposit a certain amount every month.
- Both parents can put their money in an educational fund.
- Look into financial aid options.
- Discuss taking educational loans for your child and also discuss who’ll be responsible for these loans.
Most people who get divorced find it best to split all educational expenses equally. It sounds fair, right? Well, it’s only fair when both parents earn equally. If there’s a considerable difference in what each parent earns, splitting the expenses 50/50 isn’t very fair. In this case, the parent who earns more should pay more (60:40 or 70:30) so that the parent who earns less isn’t burdened.
Divorce is stressful, no matter if you’ve got kids or not. Having kids only makes it more complicated. Splitting finances can get ugly, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Educate yourself about what to expect after divorce, the legal aspect of splitting finances in case of children, and custody-related matters. Getting through will be much easier.
We at Spirit One aim to provide you with all the relevant information pertaining to family law and divorce that’ll help you take more informed steps in the best interest of your children.