As children of divorced parents transition into the college years, co-parenting changes significantly. Children over the age of 18 have more ownership over their own time and how and when they want to spend it. The question is, what should divorced parents know about co-parenting their college student, and how can they make these young adult years harmonious and stress-free for all involved?
Choosing a College
The process of selecting a college begins well before high school graduation. College applications are an enormous undertaking that benefits from both parents’ involvement. The research, forms, and essays can be overwhelming for a teen, and parental support and assistance goes a long way.
Ultimately, the final decision about where a child attends college should be their own. Parents can help teens consider the pros and cons of each candidate, but they need to be empowered to make this important decision for themselves.
Divorced parents should not use this exciting milestone to lobby for their own alma mater, or the university closest to their home.
Paying For College
In this country, parents are not required to pay for their children’s college education. If that is something you and your ex want to do – or at least assist with – you should include provisions for college funds in your divorce agreement or parenting plan. Consider the costs of tuition, books, room and board, and day-to-day living expenses.
Because a parent’s financial situation can change significantly with a new job, marriage, or relocation, parents’ may need to revisit and adjust their college savings plan throughout the years. An experienced Towson family law lawyer is your best resource for post-divorce modifications.
Visiting Your Child During the College Years
Adjusting to your child living away from home can be very difficult. Divorced parents also must split their already limited time with their college student with their ex, which can cause hurt feelings and unfortunate arguments.
Like co-parenting through the school-age years, a healthy relationship between divorced parents and their children takes work, communication, and compromise. Focusing on “winning” instead of supporting your child through this journey will only alienate them and push them away from you.
Be willing to share summers and holidays. Follow your child’s lead and understand they are building their own life and may have their own plans that do not always align with yours.
If your relationship with your ex is fairly amicable, work with them directly to alternate visits home and ensure you both get enough quality time with the children. For parents with less-friendly relationships, there are several mobile apps available for scheduling and communication. Try not to put your child in the middle. This is their time to shine.
Towson Family Law Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Assist with Creating Smart Parenting Agreements
Some divorced parents choose to extend their parenting agreement past the age of eighteen and include arrangements for financing college. Preparing for your child’s college education begins well before the high school years. To ensure your parenting agreement includes provisions for your child’s future, contact a Towson family law lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC.