During a divorce there are many issues that parents need to address. While they usually work out the immediate needs of the child, paying for children’s college education after divorce is not always resolved. In fact, if not provided for in an agreement, there will be no obligation by either spouse to provide for college expenses later. Very often, the kids are young when couples divorce, so college is not even on the horizon. If you want to make college savings a set obligation of one or both parents, it is a good idea to discuss the situation now, and make it part of a legal agreement.

Plan for College Education

It is essential for all parents to begin planning for their child’s college education as early as possible. Setting up a saving plan is one of the smartest things you can do when the kids are young. It will be easier to pay for college if parents have been regularly making small payments into the savings account. If you set up a savings plan before you are divorced, include instructions on how and when each parent will continue to make payments. Create an account for each child, and keep it apart from other finances.

Separate Accounts

If you haven’t yet begun a college savings plan, you may prefer that each parent set up his or her savings separately. If you choose to do this, it is best to include instructions within the divorce document that addresses how much money should be placed into the account. If one party defaults on the payments, the account won’t have enough to cover college expenses. For this reason, you need to ensure that both parties provide details of the savings account on at least an annual basis.


Although you may not feel the need to put this information in writing right now, it is in your child’s best interest to do so. The best way to address your children’s college education is by providing for it as part of the Decree. Anything that is not covered in the Divorce Decree or Parenting Plan are not part of the legal agreement. Discuss this issue with your divorce attorney. Your attorney will assist in making an agreement about college savings which can be made part of your divorce.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Paying for Children’s College Education after Divorce, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Lindsay A.M. Olivarez at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.