Planning for certain expenses during the divorce process, including education expenses, can make a big difference for you and your spouse. Specifically, getting down to the nitty gritty when it comes to finances during your divorce leaves you and your spouse better able to seek stability and success If you have children — or if one of you is planning to return to school following the divorce — you might want to engage in detailed discussions and agreements about how educational expenses will be handled in the future.
However you decide to handle these expenditures, a good understanding of what the future might hold can help you to plan better.. Here's a look at some of the many school-related expenses that you might want to work into your divorce agreement.
According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, preschool costs families between $4,460 and $13,158 per year per child on average. The amount you pay for preschool depends on factors such as:
- Geographical location
- Whether you qualify for assistance
- Whether your child attends a public or private school
- How many days and hours a week your child attends
With up to $1,000 or more dedicated to early-childhood education, most couples likely won't want to ignore this potential expense when navigating divorce finance decisions. If your child is already in preschool, make sure to include these payments on the platform, so that they can be taken into account in calculations, and accounted for in the final settlement agreement.
No matter how old your child is or where they go to school, you might run into class fees. Typically, these are relatively small fees that are used to cover supplies or use of equipment in a classroom. Preschools or elementary schools may ask for fees in lieu of large supply lists, and high school students might have to pay them for classes that require special safety equipment or supplies, such as chemistry, art or shop. These fees aren't always a part of children's education, but when they do crop up, they tend to be $10 to $40 for a year. Simply having a plan in place for such fees can reduce the need to negotiate with your spouse at the beginning of every academic year.
Technology fees are typically charged when students use computer labs or school-provided devices such as laptops and tablets. Sometimes, the fees are included within the tuition structure; other times, the school requires a fee or deposit for the use of the device during the semester or year. Again, a plan with your spouse about who will pay for these fees will make it so that you do not have to worry about which one of you will have to cover these extra expenses each year.
Students today have an exciting mix of extracurricular activities to choose from, even at young ages. Some private preschools, for example, offer music, sports and art programs after the regular school hours for an extra cost.Additionally, older children, including those in middle and high school students can choose from different extracurricular activities including:
- Academic clubs
- Volunteer organizations
- Business or technical clubs
- Social clubs
- Faith-based clubs
The expenses related to these activities range widely as well. Parents might need to purchase equipment, shoes, costumes or uniforms, and many clubs require dues. You might also find yourself with related expenses, such as fuel costs or overnight travel if your child is attending events or championships.
If you decide to broach this subject as part of your divorce, you might also want to talk about each parent's views on these activities. Do you want to agree to limit activities to a certain number each year or leave all decisions up to your children once they reach a certain age? By discussing and agreeing to how you and your spouse will handle your children’s extracurricular activities, you will make your life easier and your children can continue doing the things they enjoy!
Testing fees are typically something you might pay for related to older children. PSATs, SATs, AP tests, entrance exams, dual enrollment tests and college credit tests are just some of the exams that might come with a cost. For high school students, the fees are relatively small, ranging from $10 to $50 or so. College students and graduates who may be facing professional exams or the GRE will deal with larger fees.
College expenses vary widely depending on where someone goes to school and whether they stay on campus. According to the College Board, in-state tuition and board for a moderately priced public college averages about $24,610 as of 2017, and the amount goes up to around $49,320 for a moderately priced private college. The expenses related to college can also include:
- Technology fees
- Books and supplies
- Outfitting a dorm room or new apartment
While education comes with a price throughout the years, college is obviously one of the larger expenses many families will face, so planning in advance is a good idea. Some things to keep in mind as you go through divorce related to future college expenses include:
- Your divorce may impact how you can complete financial aid forms, so make sure you understand the rules and requirements regarding the FAFSA and other forms. You can always speak with the college's financial aid office if you have questions.
- You may be able to plan together to save for your children's college through special funds.
- You can include college savings plans in your support agreements if you're both in agreement.
You don't have to plan today for every one of these expenses, and in reality it may be difficult to do so. Being aware that you might deal with these expenses in the future can help you set the stage appropriately during financial negotiations during your divorce.
How you and your spouse want to handle expenses related to education is often up to you. When you're filing an uncontested divorce and working with a platform like It's Over Easy to get the job done, you often have more decision-making power than when you rely on a Judge to decide on all of the issues of your divorce for you. Take advantage of this opportunity and customize your divorce agreement to meet the needs of your family, your lifestyle and your children.