After you have gone through a divorce, you and your ex still have to make some decisions together when there are children involved. One of these decisions is whether or not your child should go to college, and you may be surprised to hear your ex say that he or she doesn’t think college is a good idea.
You have probably learned that rather than fighting over every little thing after a marriage ends, you have to pick your battles. It can be difficult to agree with your ex when it comes to your child attending college. How can you get your ex to agree that your child should go to college?
The Importance of a College Education
More and more occupations require a college degree before a person can even apply to a given occupation. While there are currently concerns about the benefit of a college education, going to college to obtain a degree in a hard skill (as opposed to a soft skill) is still considered a safe bet in earning a secure financial future. Other reasons that a college degree is important include:
- Your child will have a better chance of earning higher wages than those who don’t have a college degree
- Your child will be more likely to be able to choose a career path that aligns with their interests and offers growth potential rather than working whatever job comes up
- There’s a better chance your child will experience greater job security and satisfaction
Figuring Out the Finances
Your divorce agreement may have spelled out who is responsible for college costs. If it doesn’t, you and your ex will need to work out the details. Reassure your ex that sending your child to college doesn’t mean that he or she has to foot the whole bill. Your child can and should help contribute to the cost of a college education by applying for student loans, scholarships, and taking a part-time job.
Choosing a college may require input from your child and both parents. While your child may want to go to a private school that is out-of-state, you and your ex may want to discuss helping your child find an in-state school with a good reputation that would be less expensive.
What if You and Your Ex Just Can’t Agree?
Some divorces are much more emotionally charged than others, and if you and your ex can’t seem to agree on this subject or talk about it at all, it’s a good idea to get advice or assistance from a family law lawyer. A parent can petition a court to modify child support agreements to include college expenses. Laws that apply to divorced parents can be complicated. You should talk to a family law expert in order to have your questions answered and to find out what your options are if your ex doesn’t want to contribute to your child’s college fund.
Hopefully, the one thing you and your ex still have in common is wanting to provide opportunities for your child. You should work through any disagreements you have with your ex because the result will likely benefit your child. The harder you work with your ex to resolve disagreements, the more likely your child will have the opportunity to work toward his or her goals without tension or conflict between you and your ex.