Getting College Tuition Covered with a Separation Agreement

One of the biggest concerns for parents in North Carolina is college tuition. It is no secret that tuition costs are incredibly high today. These costs have made university completely infeasible for many parents. Even the students themselves are becoming reluctant to attend college if it means accepting student loans and saddling themselves with excessive debt. These issues become even more worrying for single parents. Paying for college is hard enough with two parents paying the bills, but the prospect becomes almost unthinkable if you are a single parent with limited financial resources. 

But what if your child support could cover tuition? Many spouses believe that child support should cover college tuition, but the state of North Carolina is quite clear on the issue. Once child support ends, the child is considered an adult. As such, they will be responsible for their own post-secondary education costs. But what if there was another way? Using a separation agreement, it may be possible to have your child's tuition paid for by continued child support payments. This is made possible due to the unique aspects of collaborative law. 

If you want to explore this possibility further, get in touch with a qualified divorce attorney in North Carolina. Team up with a lawyer who has handled collaborative divorces in the past. Our legal professionals can guide you forward as you end your marriage, and we can help you reach a positive outcome with your separation agreement. If you have specific concerns, such as your child's college tuition, you can mention these priorities during your initial consultation. We can help you pursue your goals and move forward to life after divorce. 

Speak With Your Former Spouse First

If you have concerns about whether you will be able to pay for your child's college education, you should discuss the matter with your former spouse first and foremost. They may be willing to contribute. If so, then you can ask if they can put that in writing in your separation agreement. If they seem entirely unwilling to pay for your child's college tuition, this might be something that needs to be revisited during the collaborative divorce process. Your divorce attorney can negotiate on your behalf and help you pursue your goal. Raising the issue with your spouse is an excellent way to gauge the situation before attorneys get involved. 

How Can a Separation Agreement Help Me Pay for College?

According to North Carolina law, child support ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. If the child is still 18 while they are attending high school, child support will continue until their graduation date. There are several other possible reasons for child support to continue past this date, but parents virtually never receive payments while their children are attending college. 

So how can a separation agreement help in this situation? A separation agreement is essentially a private contract between the two spouses. As such, your understanding can contain conditions outside of North Carolina's customary laws. Both spouses can agree that child support payments will continue throughout a child's college education. Alternatively, you can include conditions that ensure tuition costs are paid for. The separation agreement becomes legally binding as long as both spouses agree to these conditions and sign the contract. This is an accepted practice in North Carolina, and family courts routinely recognize such separation agreements. 

It is also worth mentioning that you can pursue a more excellent range of options with virtually every other aspect of your divorce. You can control precisely how your custody arrangement will look, for example. You can also agree upon a longer or shorter duration for spousal support. Separation agreements are highly flexible. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for an experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. During your initial consultation, we can review your situation's unique aspects, including any specific goals you might have. When we establish an understanding of what makes your divorce unique, we can help you move forward. A separation agreement can provide you with a great deal of flexibility. Not only do you have more freedom when it comes to child support, but you can also pursue a broader range of options when dealing with alimony, child custody, and property division. If you wish to learn more about this process, reach out and book your consultation today. We would be happy to explain in greater detail.