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Including college costs in your divorce settlement agreement

In Nevada and most other states, court-ordered child support payments generally stop when a child turns 18 or is otherwise deemed to have reached adulthood. As such, most child support agreements do not usually include any orders or instructions on how the parents should fund their child’s college education.

Therefore, depending on your financial situation, it may be beneficial to include a college support agreement into your divorce or child support agreement. This will ensure that your child is able to afford a post-secondary education, and that you and your child’s other parent are able to fund it. In addition, it will avoid any potential future disagreements or uncertainty about your child’s education, making the already-stressful transition from high school to college that much easier.

As previously stated, college costs are generally not included in child support orders or agreements. However, some Las Vegas family court judges will agree to include a college support order in the divorce or child support decree, or parents can decide to include it in their divorce settlement agreement. The college clause should be completely separate from any child support order.

In a college support agreement, parents should decide which percentage of college expenses each of them will be responsible for, including tuition, books, room and board, living expenses and other costs. Any restrictions, such as whether the child can attend a state or private college and any desired or prohibited courses of study, should also be included.

After reaching the agreement, parents must then determine how they are going to set aside the agreed-upon funds for a college education. One option is a lump sum payment, which may be especially beneficial for parents of young children who have the funds available at the time of divorce. Another option is to place the money in an escrow or trust account, accessible only when the child begins college.

Source: Forbes.com, “Who Pays for College Tuition? Top Factors for Divorcing Women to Consider,” Jeff Landers, Jan. 24, 2012

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