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Don’t let college savings be derailed by divorce

When parents divorce, they often worry about how the situation will affect their children’s school performance. When former spouses are committed to co-parenting, they can set goals to help keep their kids’ grades up, encourage them to continue to excel or help them if they’re struggling academically.

As you’re working out your parenting plan and other divorce agreements, it’s wise to think beyond their grade school and high school years. Whether you have a little one who’s still mastering the alphabet or a teen who is starting to look at college websites, you can commit to saving for college so that when the time comes, your child’s options won’t be limited.

Regardless of what kind of divorce you’re considering, if you can commit to this shared goal, you can codify your agreement to jointly save for your child’s higher education goals. Getting an agreement detailed during the divorce process can be easier than putting it off until later when you aren’t working with your legal teams.

Shared contributions to a 529 plan

A tax-advantaged 529 plan like the Texas College Savings Plan is among the most popular tools for college savings. Whether you already have one or need to open one, you can agree to things like how much you’ll each continue and how often and whether other family members like grandparents can contribute. If your child’s college years are some time in the future, you may have no idea how much you need to save, but it’s never too early to start.

If you’re saving for your child’s college education through an investment or savings account instead, you’ll need to agree to how that account will be handled in the divorce. Too often, parents lose sight of who these accounts are for when they start dividing assets.

Being able to have an amicable divorce can better prepare you for all of the other college-related responsibilities you’ll have in the future, from helping with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications to campus tours and much more.