5 Tips For Divorced Parents of College Students
July 9, 2018
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain
So, your child turns eighteen and is shipped off to college. Phew, that’s easy, right? Wrong! Anyone who has been through this process knows that the hard work has just begun. If your child is about to enter college this fall, this summer will be filled with graduation parties, back-to-school shopping, and making sure your child has anything and everything he or she could possibly need.
Here are 5 tips that can make life much easier for divorced parents and co-parenting in a divorce:
To the greatest extent possible, open communication is key : between you and your child, between your ex-spouse and your child, and between you and your ex-spouse. Everyone needs to know what the plan is. From scheduling move-in day to who’s buying the shower caddy, there are hundreds of little things for which everyone needs to be on the same page. The more comprehensive your plan is, the easier things will be in the long run. In order to do that, everyone needs to communicate with one another.
2.Do your research
Let’s face it: there are very few eighteen year olds who want to sit down with their parents to discuss the minutia of going off to college (and if your child wants to, consider yourself lucky and take advantage of it!). So, if your child is resistant to going through each point with you, do your own research first to make the conversations more efficient. Look online for suggestions as to what dorm room essentials most students bring with them. Check the school’s policies about things like hot plates and mini fridges.
Also, be aware that your child may not know much more than you do, so do not blame him or her for not having all of the answers!
3.Coordinate with other parents
If your child has friends attending the same school, reach out to their parents (with your child’s permission!).
Firstly, this will give you an idea of what the other children are doing so you can be prepared for issues you may not have thought of.
Secondly, you may be able to coordinate with these other parents about transportation to and from the school and activities once you have arrived at the school.
Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, this will provide you and your ex-spouse with a support system in the event something goes wrong along the way.
4. Split the responsibilities
If it is feasible, split the responsibilities when co-parenting in a divorce. Back-to-school shopping is a unique form of torture for some parents. If you are local and able, use some of your parenting time to take your child to the store. Most large chains such as Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond have handy checklists for typical college needs, and if not, there are tons of lists you can print out from the internet. Before you take the plunge, divide up the items with your ex-spouse so that your child doesn’t end up with two of everything. Also, work out some care packages with your ex-spouse especially if your child is going to school far away and will only come home for the major holidays and breaks from school. This can also help if you and your ex-spouse are sharing expenses for your child, so you can budget accordingly.
5. Stay involved
Now that your child is 18, you are no longer entitled to your child’s records as you were when he or she was in elementary school or high school. The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. A school may not generally disclose personally identifiable information from an eligible student’s education records to a third party unless the eligible student has provided written consent. However, this does not mean that the school cannot tell you general information such as when Parents’ Day is or when final exams are over. If you need to, reach out to a Dean at the school to get the information that you need.
Going off to college is both a scary and exciting time for your child. Make sure to support him or her through the ups and the downs because letting go of your baby is a big change, but it’s also a big change for your baby!
Contact The New Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC
Although our goal is to resolve your case efficiently and amicably, our New Jersey divorce lawyers have years of experience trying divorce cases. We strive to make the trial process as simple as possible while zealously advocating for you and your positions.