For families with children, the financing of college is a major topic of discussion. Some couples have been saving money for funding their children’s education since each child’s birth; others do not believe that their agreement needs to address a distant happening, especially when they are worried about immediate financial problems. And, of course, there are couples who fall somewhere between these extremes.
At the Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution, we believe that couples need to decide now how they will deal with their children’s education. To leave this subject to be dealt with in the future may confound the decision-making process, as unanticipated problems and especially new relationships, inside and outside marriage, usher in different needs, different ideas, and especially different pressures.
Couples should avoid flowery statements describing their commitment to children, which at best tend to be “an agreement to agree.” Rather, they need to determine:
Together, parents need to consider the needs and interests of their children and their ability to fund his/her college or other postsecondary education. Agreements made before divorce avoid future conflict and confusion for parents and for children.