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Navigating College Expenses in Connecticut: The Divorced Parents Edition

Divorce brings about significant changes, especially when children are involved. Among the myriad of concerns, planning for children’s post-secondary education can be both financially and emotionally taxing. In the state of Connecticut, where the cost of education continues to rise, divorced parents often face the challenge of navigating their responsibilities towards their children’s higher education expenses. However, with careful planning, communication, and understanding of state laws, co-parenting for college expenses can be managed effectively.

Connecticut, like many states, does not have specific statutes mandating divorced parents to pay for their children’s college education. However, courts can order financial support for post-secondary education under certain circumstances, usually as part of a divorce or custody settlement agreement. The decision largely depends on factors such as the financial resources of each parent, the parent’s desire to contribute to post-secondary education, particularly if they had remained an intact family, and a variety of other factors. It is also imperative that the divorce decree include the pertinent language to reference the post-secondary education statute for Connecticut.  So long as the Court retained jurisdiction of such, then there is the option to file a post-judgment motion if you and your co-parent cannot agree on the division of the financial expenses associated with your child(ren)’s college experience.

If children are older at the time of divorce, it is helpful for parents to outline how they intend to contribute to their child’s education, including tuition, fees, room and board, and other related costs (including but not limited to costs associated with college tours and applications). Additionally, they should address how decisions regarding college selection, financial aid applications, and student loans will be made. However, when parents divorce or separate when the children are younger, it may be harder to plan for these specific circumstances.  Thus, by including a clause that the court retain jurisdiction over post-secondary education, the parties allow themselves the opportunity to return to court if necessary.

As your child(ren) age and college becomes a more “real” concept for your family, remember that ppen and honest communication between co-parents is essential. Discussing financial matters, expectations, and concerns openly can help alleviate tensions and foster cooperation. Regular meetings or check-ins to review the child’s academic progress and financial needs can ensure that both parents stay informed and involved in the decision-making process.

Encouraging the child to pursue financial aid opportunities, such as scholarships, grants, and student loans, can ease the burden on both parents. It can also be factored in when determine what each parent will need to contribute.  Connecticut offers various state-funded and private scholarships for eligible students, which can significantly offset college expenses. Parents should assist their child in researching and applying for these resources to make higher education more affordable.

In cases where parents struggle to reach a consensus on college expenses, seeking mediation or legal assistance may be necessary. A mediator can facilitate discussions and help parents find common ground, while legal professionals can provide guidance on navigating complex legal issues and drafting enforceable agreements. Ultimately, the goal should be to prioritize the child’s best interests while finding equitable solutions for both parents.

Remember, you do not have to navigate the complexities of figuring out how to coordinate payment for your child(ren)’s post-secondary education alone.   If you have questions about how to proceed in your juvenile law or family law matter, please contact us. Ever argue with a woman? Let Wolf & Shore Law Group go to work for you and help protect your future. Click here, call us at 203.745.315, or email us at

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