Bastarrika, Soto, Gonzalez & Somohano, L.L.P.

Kids of divorce are less likely to earn post-secondary degrees

For parents who are divorcing, the primary concern is the wellbeing of their children. Divorce can be incredibly difficult for kids. In addition to affecting their schoolwork, it can have long-lasting emotional repercussions.

A recent study indicates that divorce can also impact a child’s likelihood of attending college. According to the data, children whose parents divorce are less likely to earn a college degree than children whose parents remain married.

A startling survey

Researchers from Iowa State University examined thousands of surveys from a 15-year period. The longitudinal surveys polled thousands of teenagers as they became young adults. According to the data:

  • Fifty percent of children whose parents were married obtained a bachelor’s degree.
  • However, only 27 percent of children whose parents were divorced obtained a bachelor’s degree.
  • Twenty percent of children of married parents obtained a graduate or professional degree, compared to 12 percent of children of divorced parents.

There are a few theories behind this. One is that when parents divorce, their finances often take a hit, making college tuition difficult to afford. Another is that divorce can take a negative toll on children, causing them to struggle in school.

What parents who are divorcing can do

If you are preparing for a divorce, however, you do not necessarily need to fear for your children’s college prospects. During your divorce, take care that your children are not caught in the middle of a contentious battle. Instead, prioritize their emotional wellbeing, stability and schoolwork.

When you are planning your post-divorce finances, address the cost of college. Your divorce settlement or child support arrangement may include a provision for college payments. You may also wish to seek outside legal or financial counsel to help you plan for your child’s college education.

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