There is never truly an “ideal” time to divorce: any time a couple chooses to divorce will involve the divorcing spouses having to make decisions about issues and matters that may or may not be relevant in another couple’s divorce. Parents who are divorcing and who have children planning to go to college in the near future are no different. Some of the issues relevant to divorcing couples with college-aged children include:
Who Gets the College Savings Account?
While married, a couple may have chosen to jointly open a 529 savings account as a way of saving up funds for when their child goes off to college. If the account is owned jointly by both parents, it (like any other joint account) will need to be awarded to one parent or another, or the account will need to be split. Before deciding to allow the other parent to assume control of the 529 savings account, the other parent should consider that he or she will no longer have any control over what happens with the account once the divorce is finalized. Note, too, that if the custodial parent assumes control over the 529 account, this will be counted as part of the household income when the child applies for federal student aid.
Where Will the Child Live?
Of course custody of a minor child can be an issue in many divorces, but where the child is an adult but still plans to live at home or where the child is not quite 18 years of age and is planning on going to college, the matter of who becomes the primary residential parent takes on special importance. The custodial parent’s household income is the income that is looked at when the child applies for federal student aid. Parents may wish to consider how each of their household’s income after the divorce would impact the child’s ability to obtain sufficient financial aid.
Who Will Claim the Child for Income Tax Purposes?
Income tax deductions are available for the parent who claims the child on his or her income tax return, so long as the child is a full-time student (as defined by the school). While the spouse who claims the student on his or her income tax return is able to receive any credits that the IRS may have available for that year. Some of these credits, however, may be tied to the parent’s income. So a parent who earns a significant amount of money and who claims the child on his or her income tax return may not be eligible to receive the credits available for that year.
When to Seek Help from a DuPage County Asset Division Attorney
Be upfront with your skilled DuPage County divorce attorney about your financial picture and any assets you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have in common. If you and your ex-spouse are not able to agree as to how issues relating to your college-aged child should be resolved, the court will need to become involved and decide these issues. If this happens, you will want an experienced and dedicated legal advocate on your side. Contact one of our several Illinois offices today.