Navigating the terms of an Ohio divorce is difficult enough. Now that your children have received their college acceptance letters, there may be another factor you have to worry about as you work out your divorce. Who will have to pay for the tuition? How much and for how long? You need to review Ohio law concerning post-secondary education costs so you can include this financial aspect in your divorce order.
Ohio law on college tuition
While some states allow a judge to order a parent to help pay for college, this is not the case in Ohio. Parents do not have a legal duty to contribute to tuition, and the court cannot force them to. The only exception is if you included the terms for college expenses in your divorce agreement. Then the court can require parents to fulfill their obligations. Therefore, it is important that you discuss this in your divorce case to avoid having full responsibility.
Details to include
As you decide on the terms, consider the following for a thorough agreement:
- How much each parent will pay
- Whether there will be an up-front lump sum or recurring payments
- Where the money will go (account, trust, etc.)
- What expenses the payments will cover
Remember that costs can include school supplies, health insurance, transportation and allowances. If you have younger children, you may also want to outline which colleges they may attend to ensure affordability.
Scholarships, grants and student loans affect how much you each will have to pay. How much financial aid your child receives will depend on when you divorce, who the custodial parent is and how much child support that parent receives. If either you or your ex remarries, it will also affect the amount because the income of stepparents becomes a relevant factor. It is best to discuss all these issues with an experienced Ohio family law attorney to prevent mistakes, ambiguity and an undesirable financial outcome.