California Divorce: Who Pays for College After Divorce?

california divorce

One of the most common issues when children are involved in a divorce is child support. While parents are expected to financially support their children until they finish high school or are 18, child support does not cover college tuition or expenses.

Unlike other states, California doesn’t have a statute that requires postsecondary education to be factored into child support. Similarly, no specific guidelines are in place to determine how divorcing parents should split college expenses.

So, who pays for college expenses after a divorce? This article will explore how college expenses are typically handled in a California divorce and provide tips for divorcing parents on navigating this aspect of their divorce.

How to Address College Expenses After a California Divorce

College expenses are typically addressed in the divorce settlement or court order. That means you and the other parent can agree on how to handle college expenses, and when you include this in your divorce settlement agreement, it becomes legally binding. Here are some of the ways you can accomplish this.

Set Up a Trust or Escrow Account

To do this, you can set up a trust or escrow account with existing funds or pledge payments in the future to provide money for college. This can prevent one parent from breaking the agreement in the future, and the funds will only be available once the child starts college.

Establish a College Support Structure Payment

Another way to handle this is to add a section to your divorce settlement that establishes a college support structure payment. This makes payments enforceable under the law. Be sure to address potential issues such as limits on tuition, when and how payments will be made, and what expenses can be covered.

Set Up a Prepaid Tuition Plan

You can also voluntarily set up a prepaid tuition plan or as part of your divorce settlement. This option allows you to lock in tuition at today’s rate using regular installments or a lump-sum payment. The only drawback to this plan is that you must commit to a particular university or college in advance.

Apply for Financial Aid

You can also apply for grants and financial aid to cover your child’s college expenses. Some examples include:

Financial aid is awarded based on financial conditions. Speaking to a family law attorney can help determine which parent should apply.

Tips for Navigating College Expenses During a California Divorce

Here are some tips you can employ to help make determining who will pay for college expenses smoother.

  • Plan Early — Planning for college expenses as early as possible, ideally before the divorce process begins, will allow you and your co-parent to review your options and agree on how to handle the expenses.
  • Open Communication — Communicating openly with one another can help you successfully navigate college expenses during your divorce. You should be open and honest about your financial situation and work together to find a solution that is in your child’s best interest.
  • Turn to an Attorney — Consulting with a family law attorney with experience in California divorce is highly recommended. They can guide you on the legal aspects of college expenses and help parents understand their obligations and rights under California law.
  • Consider Medication — Mediation is an excellent way to resolve college expense disputes outside the courtroom. As a neutral third party, your mediator can facilitate discussions between parents and help them reach a mutually agreeable solution.
  • Focus on Your Child’s Best Interest — Your primary concern should be your child’s well-being and future success. Prioritize your child’s educational needs and work together to support them to succeed.

Get All Your Questions Answered by the Award-Winning Attorneys at Azemika & Azemika

Although the legal framework for addressing college expenses isn’t as straightforward as child support, parents divorcing in California can work together to meet their children’s educational needs. Divorce can be challenging, but with the right approach and support, parents can navigate the complex issue of college expenses to help their child pursue their academic goals.

At Azemika & Azemika, we are ready to help you prepare for your child’s college career by setting up a financial arrangement to help fund their higher education. Our firm has provided quality legal representation for Kern County for over thirty years and has been selected as “Best of Bakersfield for Divorce and Family Law Attorney” for two consecutive years.

If you’re ready to work with an award-winning team of family law attorneys, contact us today.

Does Income Matter in California Custody Battles


Child custody is often one of the most controversial issues when parents go through a divorce. One of the biggest concerns that some parents face is how their income and finances affect their chances of getting custody of their children.

Understanding California’s custody laws and how the courts handle custody arrangements can help you know what to expect as you begin the divorce process. This article will discuss California law regarding how your income and finances can impact the court’s custody decision and parental finances, as well as other factors that can affect a custody case.

Types of Child Custody in California

The court will look at the evidence in the case when determining the type of custody in your child’s best interest. In California, the two main types of child custody are:

  • Legal custody gives the parent the right to make decisions for the child that will affect their life. Some of these decisions include medical, religious, and educational decisions. The only way a parent makes the decisions with legal custody of the child is if the decisions put the child at risk.
  • Physical custody establishes which parent the child will reside with. If the child lives with you at least part of the time, you have physical custody of the child.

The nature of the custody order will explain whether you will share custody with someone else.

  • Joint custody means you and the other party will share rights to the child. Both parents will have a say in making decisions about the child.
  • Sole custody means you are the only person with custody of the child. You have been given the sole authority to make all of the child’s decisions, and the child lives with you all the time.

How is Child Custody Affected by a Parent’s Income in California?

California family courts prioritize the child’s best interest when determining child custody. This takes precedence over any other factor. However, while income and finances aren’t expressly stated in child custody statutes, they can influence the court’s decision of what is in the child’s best interest.

During a child custody case, the court will examine the income of each parent and their ability to support the child. They will also look into the financial resources of both parents. If one parent makes significantly more than the other, they will more likely be able to provide for the child so that they may have an advantage in a child custody case.

Mitigating Financial Differences Between Parents

If one parent is a stay-at-home parent with little to no job experience, that doesn’t mean they will automatically lose custody of the child. Instead, the courts may award child support to the lower-earning parent to ensure the child is financially supported in the same way they were before the divorce. Alimony is also a way to even out each parent’s income level.

However, it’s essential to understand that if a parent’s lack of income prevents that parent from providing a safe, stable home for the child, that could affect the outcome of their custody case. Before the courts award custody, they must be shown that a parent can provide a safe home for the child.

Other Factors That Affect Child Custody in California

Child custody is never automatically granted to a mother or a father in a California divorce. The judge will review various factors to ensure the custody decision they make suits the child’s specific needs.

Physical and legal custody will be determined according to the child’s best interest, and a judge may consider the following factors.

  • The child’s age
  • If the child has special needs
  • Whether the child is established at school, church, or their hometown
  • If they are old enough, the child’s wishes
  • The child’s bond with each parent
  • If there is a history of domestic violence
  • Each parent’s history of substance abuse and their criminal history

While the courts won’t award custody to a parent only because they make more money than the other, money may become a factor when looking into other matters. For example, if financial issues stem from a substance abuse problem, the courts will consider that.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika for Expert Legal Representation for Your Child Custody Case

In child custody cases in California, while the court considers a parent’s income and finances, they are not the sole factor when determining custody. While the child’s best interest remains at the forefront, the courts strive to create custody arrangements that will nurture the child and their overall well-being. Seeking the assistance of an experienced child custody attorney can help parents navigate child custody challenges more effectively.

At Azemika & Azemika, our practice is exclusively devoted to family law cases. That allows our team of expert family law attorneys to handle all types of family law cases with efficiency and great attention to detail. We use extensive experience to customize each case to our client’s needs.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Thinking Of Delaying Your Divorce? Think Again!

delaying your divorce

Divorce is a life-changing event that is undoubtedly a hard, painful, and possibly traumatic end to a relationship that has lasted through a significant period of your life. Because of this, it is understandable many attempt to delay the inevitable as long as they can. Despite the divorce being put into action, the process can be dragged on for months, even years. 

It’s very common for those dealing with their old relationship’s issues to try and move on to rediscover themselves and make new plans for their life as a single person. Unfortunately, this may cause more trouble in the long run. It may be a way to delay the finality of the relationship. Still, it can affect many other parts of life, like finances, mental health, and other relationships.

Why You Should Push Forward With Your Divorce

As your divorce takes shape, it’s essential to move forward rather than have life stuck in one place. By not taking control over finalizing your divorce, it makes it increasingly difficult to heal and move to a more positive future. Regardless of your feelings about the situation, it would help if you acted quickly to avoid any proceedings snowballing into legal battles or complex arguments. 

We’ve gathered some important reasons to help you understand the effects of prolonging a divorce proceeding. This includes why, despite the difficult emotions, it can be healthier for your personal and professional life to end it promptly.

More Money Spent Over Time

Assets you earn after your divorce is filed are no longer considered marital property. With this said, without filing right away after deciding that divorce is the route you want to take, your spouse’s portion of your pension will continue growing as long as you are still married. This includes savings accounts, investments, work bonuses, or new properties that will be considered marital property.

Feelings Can Change

A once amicable split can quickly end in a hostile, messy divorce. Going through a permanent split can be an emotional time for both spouses, but despite the initial shock and sadness, many spouses can reach common ground after making the decision. It’s best to finalize a divorce when both spouses are amicable to one another, leaving less time for anger and other stages of grief to take hold. Over time, as a divorce drags out, the more likely it is for each spouse to look for ways to get even or possibly one-up the other. This tends to lead to exhausting arguments and bitter discontentment for both parties.

New Complications

It’s not unusual for people to seek out love and companionship, even while going through a divorce. Any relationship after a divorce can complicate proceedings and negatively affect how your spouse views you, your previous relationship, and what they are entitled to. Usually, for the best outcome in a divorce, the only people involved are the two getting divorced and their attorneys. It usually becomes more complicated when another family member or a new partner gets involved, leading to prolonged proceedings and unnecessary arguments over minor details.

Pour Into Your Personal and Professional Life

Even those in unhealthy marriages can have a hard time during divorce. The difficulties can vary from person to person, but issues can manifest differently in your personal and professional life. You can bring those hard emotions into your place of work, around family members or close friends, and it can be all-around challenging to manage in everyday life. Having a divorce hanging over your head can be exhausting, so it is best to finalize it as soon as you can.

Wearing Down

Most clients start their proceedings with a clear stance on what they want, with the drive to get it. Standing your ground is an important thing to do in your divorce, but as time goes on with the back-and-forth process, your strength and determination may start to waver. When divorce fatigue and exhaustion happen, you’re more likely to accept terms you may not have agreed to initially. 

Gain Closure

Getting closure is an integral part of divorce. Every family member may feel the weight of your divorce, and while it may be sad to have the divorce be final, it can also become a transitional moment for new beginnings with you and your children. You can finally start a new life with new routines and a fresh start. 

Family Law Attorney In Kern County

You should only delay your divorce if you and your spouse think there is any possibility for reconciliation and a healthy, happy future together. This can take a lot of effort with therapy, individual growth, and mutual agreement to strengthen your relationship. It is a big decision, just as much as divorce.

Azemika & Azemika is here for you during this difficult time. Our practice has been devoted to family law for 28 years. We efficiently handle cases involving divorce, dissolutions of partnerships, child custody and visitations, abandonment, and adoptions. Serving all of Kern County, we want you to have the opportunity to make informed decisions from the best position possible for you and your family’s future. Contact us today.