Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

When people think divorce, they often jump right to the basics like spousal support or child maintenance, but paying for college education can actually last just as long (or longer). Wouldn’t it make sense to plan for a financial obligation that could tie you together for a long time? In a non-adversarial process like divorce mediation, you can sit down together and work out how to make your child’s college dreams a reality.

Why Choose Mediation?

– One key reason you might want to choose mediation for your situation is that in California and some other states, parents aren’t obligated to pay for children after the age of 18. When there are no clear rules, it can be difficult to hold your co-parent to an agreement. Mediation opens the space to work towards definite goals.
– College education is a minefield of costs and exemptions. Working with mediators who are financial experts can help you time your divorce and optimize your resources to make the most of college assistance.

You Can Find a Way to Climb the Mountain

Paying for your child through college can seem like a huge obstacle. You may be facing into some of the following situations (but in mediation there are always solutions!):

Can you afford the best for your child? Will your child go to a public or private college? Can you afford to pay for your child to go to college out of state? Mediation can help you agree on these issues and help you develop or refine a plan to pay for college (ie 529 savings accounts or funding a trust to pay for your child’s education).
Do you support your child fully or partially? Should you be expecting your child to take on a student loan? You and your partner may disagree on whether you should pay for your child’s board and food or just tuition fees (or who bears the costs of each). Deciding on different types of expenses is important, as some may be fixed (like tuition) and some may be expandable (like food and board). When obligations aren’t clarified, resentment can arise. In mediation, everything is on the table and you direct the conversation productively.
Optimizing your income and raising funds Raising funds for college can be really tricky when you’re divorcing. You might be considering selling the house but one partner (or other children) might feel resentful about this. You might have already used 529 accounts to save for your child’s education, but one partner might want to split them in the divorce. What is best for everybody in the divorce? (Bear in mind this could include other children, not of college age). Financial and emotional considerations are often inseparable. At Boileau Conflict Solutions we use careful methods to simplify and clarify fraught financial/emotional issues. Using communication theory and game theory among other approaches, we believe self-interest doesn’t have to be incompatible with good agreements (it is possible to work towards common benefit without disregarding individual needs and desires).
Hidden Emotional Impacts of Financial Choices To avoid turning money into something that divides your family you can charter mediation sessions to help you make decisions that are less emotionally driven. For example there can be hidden power plays between parents making money a tool to compete for a child’s affection. At Boileau Conflict Solutions we use game theory and other approaches to disentangle self-interest and work towards sustainable and collaborative solutions.

How We Can Help

We are caring, well-educated mediators who are skilled in applied financial mathematics, the law, psychoanalysis, and game theory. We strive to efficiently comprehend your situation and its opportunities for sustainable and agreeable resolution. This may include a review of your parenting plan, spousal support calculations, community property equalization, settlement agreement, and all other aspects of your case. We can either confidentially present you with a private analysis, or mediate the conflict with both of you until resolved. Conflict analysis can result in a more optimized understanding of the net community property, adding value to the estate and helping you find a way to pay for big ongoing expenses such as a college education. The sooner you can resolve your conflict, the sooner you can begin to craft a sustainable future for you and your children. You can visit us at our offices in Boulder, CO, Campbell, CA, Irvine, CA and Beverly Hills, CA. We can also be reached by Telephone, Zoom or Facetime. We are available 7 days a week and at urgent notice. Please contact us to see how we can help.

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