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Protecting the college savings for one’s children during a Texas divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Divorce

For those with children, the effects of divorce on the younger members of a family can be one of the most pressing concerns in a Texas divorce. Parents may worry about the economic, social and emotional consequences of divorce for their children.

Oftentimes, a shared love for their children is one of the few things that parents are able to agree on throughout the divorce process. They may also have goals for the children that they worry about achieving because of how divorce will affect the family financially. For example, parents will likely worry about what will become of funds saved for a young adult’s college tuition as a result of the split.

Sometimes, protecting college savings is simple

Some families will find that there is a very straightforward process for the protection of college savings. If the parents have funded a 529 educational savings account, there are simple rules for handling that account in a Texas divorce. The custodial parent who has more time with the children will often assume control over the account, although the courts can treat it as part of the community property pool.

It is also possible for parents with college savings stored in any sort of financial account to reach an amicable agreement about property division matters so that there is no question about what happens to those college savings when parents divorce. Mutual cooperation is often the best option, as parents can work out a plan that involves both of them continuing to set aside funds for college costs for the children. Parents need to keep in mind that ongoing funding will almost certainly be necessary, as college tuition costs continue to rise each year.

Savings can end up compromised in some cases

Unfortunately, the resources originally earmarked for the children in the family may sometimes go to other uses. For example, one parent might tap into the account to cover divorce costs or set up an independent household after the divorce. A judge could also treat the savings as marital property instead of setting it aside for the children.

Using a standard savings account or a cash savings system to put aside money for college expenses can leave a family very vulnerable to abuses during divorce proceedings. Parents who know their child will likely require a college education to pursue their dream career may need to make preserving college savings in specific ways and negotiating arrangements to cover future college expenses a major priority as they negotiate with their spouse about the details of their divorce.