Choosing a college is one of the first big decisions a child makes – albeit with some help or at least some ground rules from their parents. If you and your spouse are divorcing just as your child is starting to consider where they want to go to college, the process will be somewhat more complicated. However, with some planning and cooperation, you and your co-parent don’t have to let your divorce limit your child’s options or their excitement for this new phase of their life.
For example, you need to make sure that your child’s college fund doesn’t suffer as you divide assets. You and your co-parent will likely need to work together to determine how to get the best possible financial aid package for your child and how you’ll share in the cost of tuition, room and board and other expenses.
College tours are an important part of the process of selecting a school. Often, these are as exciting for the parents as for their kids.
Dividing the tours
Most kids limit the number of schools they visit to a handful that are at the top of the list. Generally, it works best when each co-parent accompanies their child individually on about half the tours.
Determine which ones make the most sense for each of you to see. If your child’s considering your alma mater, you’ll probably want to go. If they’re thinking about becoming a journalist like your co-parent, they’ll probably add value to a tour of schools with a good journalism program.
Let your child have a say
Remember, however, that campus tours are mostly for the kids. They give them a chance to talk to students, maybe meet some professors, advisors or coaches and get a feel for the place. They shouldn’t have to deal with their parents fighting over which schools they want to visit to the point where they don’t want either of you there. They should at least have something to say about who accompanies them.
Campus visits may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, they’re important to teens. They’re also just one of the aspects of co-parenting an adolescent/young adult. As you’re working out your custody agreement and parenting plan, it’s crucial to consider all the things your child still needs from you.