Graduating from high school and moving into the next stage of life, which may be college, enlistment in the United States military, vocational school, or a full time job, is exciting for any young person and perhaps a bit overwhelming for his or her parents. Today, the majority of high school graduates attend college.
As a divorced parent, you probably determined the financial aspect of your child’s transition to college in your divorce settlement. Although this is the most important issue to determine before your child enters college, it is not the only one.
New Challenges that Come with College
When your child enters college, he or she will face new challenges that can require your aid. Rather than physical support, your child now needs your emotional and financial support most. Talk to your former partner about how you will handle certain issues as they arise, such as the following:
- Your child’s decision to transfer to a different institution, potentially a more expensive institution or one that would require him or her to live on campus;
- Mental or physical health crises that your child may face while he or she is in college;
- Non-academic expenses that arise during college, such as fraternity or sorority fees; and
- Transportation to and from campus.
Your Years of Co-Parenting are Not Over
When your child heads off to college, it is important to remember that your years of co-parenting are not over. Although you no longer have to abide by a parenting time schedule or make child support payments, your former spouse will always be your child’s other parent and it is in his or her best interest that you continue to work cooperatively with him or her through the issues that your child faces during his or her early adulthood.
Before your child heads to college this fall, speak with your former partner about the issues outlined above and develop a game plan for them. Determine which parent will help your child move into his or her new accommodation or if both will be present. Talk about upcoming events like Parents Weekend or school breaks when your child will return home. Your child is an adult now and ultimately, his or her desires about these choices override yours. Include him or her in these discussions to determine solutions that are practical for every member of the family.
Work with a La Crosse Family Lawyer
Even after your divorce is finalized, you and your former spouse have to work together to protect and nurture your child, guiding him or her to a healthy adulthood. Transitioning from high school to college is a milestone for many Americans and if your child plans to attend college, it is important that you and your former spouse both take an active role in preparing him or her for this step. For help with any legal issues that arise related to your child’s college education, such as determining each parent’s financial obligation to the child, speak with a member of our team of family lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd.