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How college factors into a Colorado divorce

For many Colorado parents, sending a child off to college is a milestone that ranks as high as any other. The move signifies the end of a successful upbringing, the transition between childhood and adulthood, and is a source of pride for both parents and children. Funding a college education can be a far different experience, however, especially for families that have not adequately planned for that expense. This can be especially trying for families that have gone through a divorce.

In many cases, the focus during divorce negotiations is on the immediate and short-term needs of the children. While this approach is understandable, it fails to take into account the needs that may arise as the child nears adulthood. A prime example involves college funding, and how divorced parents will shoulder the shared burden of sending a child to school.

The best way to avoid conflict and confusion about college funding is to address the issue during the divorce process. There are a wide range of solutions that can be put into place to ensure that the proper level of funding is in place when the time comes to pay tuition bills. Couples can also address how to manage any existing college savings, including placing a freeze on those accounts that will still allow the investment to be managed, but prohibits any party from withdrawing funds for any reason other than to pay for the cost of college.

There are as many ways to structure a college funding plan as there are couples who require them. Flexibility can be worked in, giving each party the ability to save and invest as they see fit, as long as the common goal of funding all or a portion of their child's education is ultimately met. While the Colorado divorce process can feel overwhelming, this is one topic worth discussing with one's spouse and legal counsel.

Source: US News and World Report, "Set up a framework as part of the divorce that maps out how to handle your kids' college costs," Reyna Gobel, April 29, 2013

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