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Make your Teen’s Transition to College Painless as a Divorced Parent

Although your son or daughter is no longer a child, you are not finished being his or her parent. After your divorce, you learned how to co-parent effectively.  Now, as your child finishes high school and moves on to college, you and your former spouse have new challenges to face.

Issues to Work Out

If your child headed off to college in the fall, make it a point to talk to your former partner about it. There are multiple issues you should have a game plan to address such as:

  • Who will take your child to campus on move-in day and how will holidays be shared;
  • Who will pick your child up at the end of the semester;
  • How you will handle costs that arise outside his or her tuition and housing, such as fraternity or sorority dues; and
  • The possibility of your child dropping out of college or transferring to a different institution.

Your child should be the one directing these conversations. After all, he or she is now an adult and if he or she has a preference about where to stay during winter break or who will come to parents’ weekend, this is your child’s choice to make. But this does not mean that you cannot or should not make suggestions and do all that you can to make the transition as easy as possible for all parties involved.

Who Will Pay for College?

This is something you and your former spouse should determine before your child finishes high school.  In Florida, courts do not require parents to contribute toward their children’s college expenses.  However, if a couple includes language in their divorce settlement stating that one or both parents must contribute toward their child’s education, the court will uphold these provisions. Divorcing parents may choose to include stipulations of their settlement agreement, such as a requirement that the child maintain a certain grade point average or course load in order for the parents to be required to contribute financially.

It is important to remember that college expenses are not part of a child support agreement.  Child support ends when a child turns 18 or, if he or she is still in high school at this point, when he or she either graduates or turns 19.

Work with an Experienced Orlando Family Lawyer

For a young adult, moving on from high school to college is a milestone.  Many see it as the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood.  As a parent, your job is not over yet.  As a divorced parent, new issues like contributing to your child’s college expenses and handling issues that arise can continue to challenge your ability to cooperatively co-parent.  This is also a good time to mend fences with your former spouse/partner in order to assure your child that you support him or her as a divorced family.

For legal help with these issues, work with experienced Orlando family lawyer at the office of Goodblatt · Leo. Contact our firm today to set up your initial legal consultation.

GOODBLATT · LEO is located and serves clients in and around Orlando, FL.

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