When a divorce drags out in court, the costs skyrocket, emotions run high and years later, you may find that you weren’t aware of what you agreed to and end up back in court. That can often happen when it’s time for the kids to attend college and you realize college expenses were never addressed. If not addressed, the expenses become yours to bear unless you can somehow convince your ex to contribute. Easier said than done.
The more civil the divorce process, the more likely you’ll get some kind of cooperation when it comes to college expenses if your ex can afford to help out. Often, people who work with a divorce mediator retain more money in their pockets and do not harbor the type of resentment caused by litigations.
Circumstances can change over the years. If one of you changes jobs or loses a job, there may be no health insurance. Whether continued by COBRA payments for the maximum time permitted or the other parent adds the kids to his or her insurance, costs can rise significantly.
Some common causes for returning to court:
- College matriculation
- Parent relocation
- Health insurance change
- Important decision for child
At one time, if the parents attended college, the judge would indicate the parents pay for college for the children. That is no longer the case and if the parents do not have funds to pay for college, fighting to enforce this will get you nowhere. Often, kids whose parents do not have money for college will qualify for more loans and scholarships than those who do.
While there is no need to fight over things that don’t matter to you, you should consider circumstances that could arise in the future as your kids get older and their needs change. The less you leave to chance, the greater your chance of avoiding court to address something that was omitted from your divorce agreement.
Once kids reach their teens, it’s difficult to get their cooperation in adhering to the child visitation schedule and their divorced parents will have to exercise some flexibility around sports, friends, and extracurricular activities. There comes a point when you can’t force them to stay overnight at your house if they’d rather be out dating a boyfriend or girlfriend. That’s why as difficult as the visitation schedule makes your life while they are little, enjoy every minute you can while they are with you. In a blink of any eye, their social lives take precedence over everything else, and you become little more than a paycheck.
There is no pleasant divorce nor one that doesn’t require discomfort, change and time to mend; however, you will often find that the less you fight, the more you will get in the long run. Divorce attorneys will encourage you to ask for more, often creating unnecessary hostility. Ultimately, you get to decide if that’s necessary and if working things out in a more peaceful manner isn’t worth more to you in the long run.