A question to be answered by all parents—separated or divorced parents, married or unmarried—is: How will the child’s college education be funded? In short, who will pay and how much?
One option is a one-third, one-third, and one-third split of costs. In this paradigm, each parent is responsible for one-third of the child’s education and the remaining one-third is the child’s liability.
In this excellent article, Dr. Lynne Halem writes that what we learn upon closer consideration is that a simplistic division of liability inherent in the “One-Third” for all Formula negates differences in each individual’s—parents and child’s—ability to finance the debt. It also overlooks differences in the long-term earning power of the child’s specific education. Not all college degrees will produce the same monetary return.
In mediation couples are typically faced with reaching agreement on funding their children’s education. In each family the circumstances vary. Not surprisingly the differences speak of the need to individualize the solution and devise appropriate strategies. A simplistic formula may well work for one family and be detrimental to others. Mediation offers the opportunity to explore the differences inherent in each family’s objectives and ability to actualize their goals.