Paying College Tuition for Children after Divorce

Your child: A source of pride and joy, life and love and, yes, quite a few additional expenses. Multiply all of the above when you bring more of them into the world — and you start to look like one very proud, very happy, very financially taxed parent.

Divorcing couples often come to me and say, “Tracy, we’re going through a divorce — but we want to be certain our child’s college needs are met.” In some conversations, such as the question we get from listner, Stephanie, the wife wants to make sure her children know she’s a contributor to their college funds.

In today’s episode of the Divorce Insider Podcast, I explore a few suggestions to Stephanie’s concerns about transparency of funds for college expenses — and ways you and your spouse can cooperatively address your children’s tomorrows amidst your divorce.

And remember: If you have a question about divorce and money you’d like me to contribute on the Divorce Insider Podcast, head over to my online contact form to ask me anything. I’ll make sure to send a response your way and feature your question on a future episode of the show.

Notes from today’s episode:

  • Consider a 529 Plan: No matter whether or not you and your spouse are going through a divorce, a 529 Plan is an investment account designed to help you save money for your children’s college expenses. Like a Roth IRA, you can contribute funds to your 529 without any annual income taxes. Read more about 529 Plans on
  • Contributing community property to college savings: Before the divorce, you and your spouse can work cooperatively to move funds to a joint savings or investment account that will provide for your children’s college needs. This way, it’s community property and jointly contributed, and you both will have greater transparency about the use of funds with both names attached to the account.
  • Foster communication during and after divorce: Clear communication and well-established expectations will ensure your children are provided for as they head for college. Collaborative divorce is a great way for divorcing couples to establish and/or reinforce healthy communication strategies to cooperatively address the post-divorce needs of their children.

Divorcees Can Deflect Destitution

canstockphoto22439542 happy older woman with dollars“You’ve got to help us!” Those were the words from a College Station woman who came to me for financial advice years ago. She asked me to help women in divorce. She described the divorced neighbor in her apartment complex. This neighbor was the ex-wife of a doctor and to make ends meet, she was a house cleaner for her wealthier former neighbors. Back then I didn’t realize that divorce attorneys don’t give financial advice.

In September 2015, the Census Bureau reported that the poverty rate for women aged 65 and older is still 12.1% while the poverty rate for men is just 7.4%. Nearly twice as many older women than older men are living in poverty. A fair divorce settlement can be the difference between poverty and a financially secure life.

Getting good professional advice and taking an active role in your divorce process will go a long way in helping you avoid a reduced standard of living later in life. If you are a woman facing divorce, you need to get sound financial advice before, during and after your divorce. Divorce can be very complicated, especially in long -term marriages. Look for a CPA with gobs of experience helping women in divorce.

Hire a family law attorney with experience. You don’t need the most expensive lawyer and stay away from low cost lawyers. Your friends might give you attorney names, but their advice will likely be based on their own divorce and not on your unique needs. Your divorce is not your friend’s divorce. Like Goldilocks, you need the one who is just right. Contact me for my list of the most suitable Brazos County divorce lawyers for your individual needs.

What’s Different about Divorce after 50?

What's Different about Divorce after 50?

I’ve talked before about grey divorce and how divorce after 50 could affect retirement, but there’s more to the complexity of divorcing later in life than just retirement.

In today’s episode of the Divorce Insider Podcast, I share several considerations couples over 50 need to make as they’re untying the knot. Some of these include:

  • Will you have time to rebuild your retirement nest egg?
  • What should you do for health insurance and healthcare?
  • How much will your life-long dreams change as a result?

The cost of living for each of you adds up to more than the cost of living for the two of you when you’re together. Tweet this

In this episode, I share some practical tips and considerations you and your divorce professional should be discussing, including the need to project your post-divorce budget and ways to make sure you have health coverage after your divorce. I also answer a question from a listner who is wondering about what to do with credit cards during a divorce.

Practical advice for divorce financial planning

Divorce is an intricate mixture of parting ways, moving forward, looking ahead and building for your tomorrows. The real trick is having a strong financial plan at the ready — and that’s exactly what I talked with Andrea Murad in her article about divorce and financial planning, which was published on Entrepreneur on July 10.

You can read the full article here — or hit the highlights in my summary below. Andrea gives five practical tips for developing solid financial plans amidst divorce, which include:

  • Reviewing your financials and expenses
  • Budgeting for alomony
  • Planning your career
  • Considering whether to downsize your home
  • Remembering to consider health insurance

The key to planning effectively is taking stock of who you are and what you’re worth now, what you’d like to maintain moving forward, prioritizing your needs and wants, and deciding what steps will need to be taken to get there.

Andrea consulted with several professionals from across the financial planning spectrum, and all had valuable insight in how you can maximize your finances before and after your divorce. Give the article a read and let me know what you think.

Do’s and Don’ts for Boomers Living in Sin

canstockphoto15145120 Senior Couple on beachAfter a divorce, many Baby Boomers swear they will never marry again. Then they fall in love. In a previous post, Boomers: In your next relationship just shack up, I listed the financial incentives that are fueling the surge in seniors shacking up together. In this post, I will share tips on how to handle your finances when living in sin.


Share Household Expenses? Definitely

Many divorces are sparked by the inability to talk openly about money. In your post-divorce relationship, don’t fall into the same trap that got you into that divorce. Make it a priority to go over the money situation once a month. Share the household expenses equally or proportionately based on your respective incomes. Here’s where that joint account comes in handy to pay the bills. You each deposit your share of money to cover expenses and pay for them out of the joint account.

When I say “household expenses”, I am not talking about improvements to the house; fund those by the person who owns the house. Sharing in the cost of remodeling or major repairs can get complicated when one of you passes away first without clearly covering this situation in the estate planning documents. Again, I can refer you to excellent estate planning attorneys in the Brazos Valley.

Mingle Assets & Debt? Nope

When shacking up together, retain separate checking accounts. One joint account is fine as long as you also have your separate account. Do not apply for a joint credit card. Do not comingle debt.

Do not contribute toward the purchase of a major asset that is titled to your partner. Talking about houses, vehicles, boats, airplanes and investment accounts. Ok, if you just have to contribute, be sure your name is also on the title. If you are leasing an abode, get both your names on that lease. No exceptions. Consult with an estate planning attorney. Ask me for the best ones in the Brazos Valley. Do not get yourself into the pickle of co-owning a house with your partner’s mother after your partner tragically and suddenly drops off the perch.

Get a No-Nup? Yep

Ok, it might not be romantic, but get a no-nup anyway. This is a legal document that addresses property division, financial support and debt planning for the possibility that your relationship ends prior to either of you passing on. You want to be clear what will happen to your assets if and when the relationship ends. It is not a DIY project. You will need a family law attorney, so call me if you want recommendations.