Co-Parenting a College Student

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Getting a divorce ends your marriage but it doesn’t end your parenting duties. If you had children during the marriage there are certain responsibilities that you and your ex-spouse need to uphold, even if the children are older and college-bound.

Being a teenager can be difficult enough, but as the time gets closer to making the big decision about college, your child may need your love, support, and guidance more than ever. The following are a few tips on getting through the process together:

  • Share the college visits with your ex. If you are amicable with one another and are used to spending time together post-divorce, then take the college tours together so long as it is okay with your child.
  • Each of you should try to contribute some time to the process whether it be helping your child complete applications or adding your input to the essay portion. Don’t let the whole process fall on one parent’s shoulders.
  • Share your opinions on your child’s college choices but be sure to include your child’s preferance in the final decision. If you have agreed to help pay for college but can’t afford your child’s school of choice, make it clear that you can contribute a portion of the funds but he or she needs to be responsible for the remainder.
  • Being divorced may already limit your time with your child and once your child is away at school it may be difficult to adjust to him or her not being there at all. Don’t make your child feel guilty about his or her time back at home during school vacations and holidays. Work with your child and your ex-spouse to come up with a schedule that is fair to everyone.

Your child reaching the age of high school graduation and college enrollment is a life-changing transition for everyone involved. Keep communication open and be supportive throughout the process. If you are having issues finding the right balance with co-parenting and the finances involved it may be smart to speak with a professional to assist in the situation.