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How a divorce can affect college budgeting

When Illinois parents divorce, they may wonder how the practical and financial fallout may affect their kids' future college education. University tuition is a massive expense for people in any family situation. Tuition has risen significantly over the past decades, a trend that experts expect to continue. Every year, the cost of going to college increased by around 3 percent. As a result, it costs around $46,950 each year to attend a four-year private university while it costs about $20,770 to attend a four-year public school, including tuition, fees, room and board.

Around 40 percent of American marriages end in divorce. While people know that ending a marriage can be financially draining, its effect on college payments may not be the first effect that comes to mind. Family courts prioritize child support for minor children and spousal support payments over tuition. Even when families agree on a plan for university payments to continue during and after divorce, it can be interrupted by emergencies and unforeseen expenses. This is one reason why an agreement about college costs approved by the family court can be explicitly included in the divorce settlement.

Of course, circumstances can change over time. Parents may lose or change jobs, and a plan that was initially feasible may no longer be so. The simple expenses of living after divorce are also often more expensive because it costs more to run two households than one. A 529 savings plan may also be a good idea as monies there are earmarked for educational costs.

College savings and expenses are significant, and divorce may inspire new worries about how to meet the children's needs. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing parent to negotiate a fair settlement on issues like child custody, child support and future expenses.

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