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Who Gets the College Fund in a Florida Divorce?

In many Florida divorces, part of the property division that occurs involves college funds which have been set aside for the benefit of the children.

Unless these funds are owned by one spouse alone as a result of money from before the marriage or as a result of a gift from someone other than the other parent, the funds will be divided along with all of the other assets and debts of the parties.

If the plan procedures allow both parents to exercise joint control, the solution is fairly simple. You merely request that the plan confirm in writing that neither spouse can withdraw or otherwise move the money without the written consent of the other.

Sometimes that is difficult to do. Many plans, including the state operated Florida Prepaid College Plan, require that the accounts be opened in one name only. When that is the situation, your expert Florida divorce lawyer will merely place a paragraph in the Marital Settlement Agreement or ask the judge to place a paragraph in the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage which states that neither spouse can make any decisions regarding that money without the written consent of the other spouse.

Bottom Line: Don't assume that the children's college funds will be handled the way that you want them to be. Have your Florida divorce lawyer obtain clear rules for withdrawing the funds.

(copyright Stann Givens 2009)


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Florida requires an equitable distribution of the marital property (what is fair, not necessarily equal). Each spouse keeps the property and debts that belonged to them before the marriage. Each spouse also keeps any property received as a gift or inheritance, or any property that the spouses agree to divide in a written agreement. Any property that was acquired before the spouses married or that was received as a gift or inheritance is not considered marital property. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, a court will divide the property and the debt.
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