College tuition can be an unanticipated casualty of divorce for parents in Kentucky who decide to end their marriages. According to studies, almost 40 percent of marriages end in a dissolution, but few couples plan for the financial effects of divorce before it happens. This means that long-established plans to pay for the children's higher education can become a serious challenge, given the financial strains that can accompany a divorce. The costs of university tuition continue to rise approximately 3 percent each year, and the totals can be astronomical. It costs over $46,000 on average for one year at a private four-year school and over $20,000 each year at a state university for tuition, fees, and room and board.
Many parents work to save for their children's education with a 529 account. This special type of savings program is earmarked for educational expenses only. At the same time, parents may not be able to keep up with their planned savings after divorce; it costs more to run to households than one. In addition, it can be important to deal with the 529 account itself as part of the divorce decree. These accounts usually belong to one parent, and the owner or beneficiary can be changed.
Some parents may divide the 529 plans in half, with each parent responsible for a portion of their child's education savings. In other cases, both parents could be added together as owners of the account. Other plans for managing college costs can also be built into the divorce agreement.
The financial effects of divorce can be considerable, and college tuition is only one of the important items that can become a strain after separation. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse to minimize costs and work to reach a fair settlement on property division and other issues.