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Considerations when negotiating kids' tuition after divorce

When two parents split up, issues of child support and custody are often top of mind. But what happens once the child graduates high school and heads off to College or University? Future tuition fees for shared children are often left out of separation agreements in Ontario. Left unresolved, this issue can lead to conflict years or even decades after a divorce is finalized.

As with most things involving shared children, tuition can either be decided through an agreement between the two parents or can be left to the courts. Ideally, this issue is handled in the separation agreement. However, since a lot of time can pass between the drafting of this agreement and a child going to school, it is important that the language is very explicit.

There are a few things that should be considered when making this decision ahead of time. For example, will tuition be the only thing covered, or will one or both parents also provide living expenses? What happens if the child doesn't choose a conventional educational path, or if they take more than four years to complete their education? Addressing "what ifs" is a good idea.

Some parents choose to maintain their child support agreement through to the time that their shared child or children graduate from University or College. This can be a good solution, but it's worth putting some exceptions in writing should circumstances change or the child makes different decisions. An Ontario lawyer can help clarify how the province addresses these issues and help individuals advocate for their interests regarding children's tuition and other expenses in a divorce.

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