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How divorce may affect a child's college fund

Many California parents start saving for their children's college tuition years in advance. They realize that the earlier they start, the more time they will have to space out the money they are saving for a quality education. However, if parents get divorced and do not plan in advance, they may find themselves squandering the money that they set aside.

According to statistics, 40 percent of marriages end in divorce. Unfortunately, two out of three married couples do not have a financial plan that includes what they will do in the event of a separation or spouse's death. As a result, the money that they have set aside for their children's college usually gets eaten up because of a failure to plan.

If one spouse is left with the primary responsibility of caring for the child's college tuition, it can be a bigger challenge. Tuition fees and room and board are going up by a rate of approximately 3 percent every year. However, if a divorcing couple takes the proper steps in advance, they could save their children's college dreams.

It's good for a parent to be realistic about their situation after a divorce. Financially caring for minor children, including paying child support, will often take priority over higher education. At times, a divorced parent may need to scale back what they had hoped for their child's education in lieu of their new financial situation. There is only one pot of money to go around, and so some reevaluation of college plans may need to be made.

A family law attorney may help a client by representing them during divorce proceedings. They could help the client set up visitation schedules if child custody comes into play. Legal counsel may also help a client handle shared accounts as well as other practical matters related to divorce.

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