In nearly every divorce as we approach the end of the case, I get the inevitable question: What about college education? How much does my spouse have to pay? The client is quickly informed there is no financial obligation in Pennsylvania to pay the college education of their children. At that point, the client realizes their dreams of their children attending their favorite Ivy League school or the expensive private liberal arts college and continuing their legacy may have just been diminished by the size of their bank account.

Parents, of course, can agree to pay for their child’s education in their property settlement agreement. If the parties agree to divide the costs of college for their children, attention to details such as how much of the tuition will be paid by each parent, and does it include books, room and board—not to mention what about transportation costs if the child chooses to go out of state, will there be a cap on the total paid by each parent, does the child have to apply for student loans, grants and scholarships, and who will be responsible for paying the student loans back?—are all valid concerns. But there may be additional concerns that the client should be advised of, considering the responsibility might not happen until sometime in the future.

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