Upon reading an interesting article from MSNBC.com Parenting and Family Section about universities encouraging students to take a “gap year” between graduating high school and starting college, our Memphis Divorce and Family Lawyers wanted some feed back from local parents.
Should your child have a ‘gap year’ before college?
Some students need a break after high school — and some colleges approve
By Danielle Wood
updated 3:58 p.m. CT, Tues., April. 22, 2008
So what does that mean for divorcing parents in Memphis? As everyone know, the legal obligation to pay child support ends when your child turns 18 or essentially finishes high school. But any parent can agree, they aren’t turning their child loose at 18 either. Co-parenting your child is a relationship that will continue well after your legal obligations have ceased.
In addition to the suggested issues and solutions from the article, here are few more thoughts on the topic:
Have the Money Talk…make sure you, your spouse and your child understand where the money is coming from and making a budget for the year. Your child may not fully understand the legal nature of child support, and you don’t want the embarrassing situation that can arise when they question why no longer are paying/receiving.
Get In First… don’t encourage the year off as a last ditch retaliation. Don’t all your teenager to manipulate your separation as a means to avoid growing up and taking responsibility.
Create a Plan B… if your child does not get into the college of their choice, don’t blame the other parent. Encourage your child to work or go to community college to improve their competitiveness. Remember that even though the legal obligation may cease, your child is still relying on you to emotionally support them.
Put it in Writing… having your child lat out their gap year plans in paper, is not part of your divorce agreement. Be honest with your children, but don’t explain the terms of property division or support agreements that won’t mesh with your child’s planning efforts. You’ll always be your child’s parent.