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College student co-parenting scenarios

No matter your circumstances or the ages of your children, co-parenting can be a delicate balancing act. When the children in question are college students, you may feel even more at a loss. For example, you might be wondering how much discretion should be left to a child when they are 18 or older.

Here is a look at some of the common situations co-parents of college students face: 

Holiday visits

It is always an adjustment after a divorce not to see your children daily and have to rely on a custody and visitation schedule for access. Now with your child away at college, your time drops even more drastically. Thus, it can be tempting to try to get your child to alter the access schedule in your favor around the holidays.

However, as with all things parenting, it helps to take a longer-term view. Will this action alienate your child or your co-parent if they view you as trying to strong-arm your child into visiting? This is one of those scenarios where compromise and respecting your young adult child’s right to make decisions may be best for everyone.

Money and finances

College students can require quite a bit in the way of tuition, room and board, books and general living expenses. Your parenting plan or divorce agreement should have covered most if not all these eventualities, so when possible, try to follow these plans and agreements.

Of course, in the intervening years you may have lost your job or divorced again, or maybe your child is not doing well in college and a change is warranted. In situations like these, you may need to contact an attorney to modify agreements or orders that no longer fit the needs of you or your children.


When your child was younger, it was imperative to have two-way communication with your co-parent about conferences, youth sporting events and the like. This may or may not need to continue or be appropriate into college, depending on the situation.

You have every right to be proud when your child goes off to college. You also have every right to take another look at your co-parenting situation to see if things need to change now that the young adult is living away from home and at school. If you’re wondering whether a change is warranted in your situation, contact an experienced family law attorney for guidance.