3 ways a Washington divorce can impact a teen’s college plans

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2023 | Divorce

A college degree may be necessary for someone to pursue a particular career. Those who want to work in medicine, law or architecture, for example, will typically need to have undergraduate and possibly graduate degrees.

Parents who have a child with major career ambitions will frequently need to save for years to help cover the cost of a college degree. When the parents in a family decide to divorce, the end of their marriage can potentially damage a young adult’s chances of achieving their educational goals.

Reduced academic performance

The emotional consequences of the divorce may include depression or withdrawal from certain activities. Teenagers who are already in high school, particularly those close to the college application process, might potentially set themselves back by having a few bad semesters at school. They may experience a drop in grades that will impact their ability to secure enrollment at the institution of their choosing. Social withdrawal, depression and defiance could possibly affect someone’s choices when applying or a student’s performance on key standardized tests.

Financial aid challenges

Divorced and separated parents can be a major challenge for those trying to navigate complicated financial aid systems. They may have to report the income of both parents depending on the timing of the divorce, and they may find that a minor academic downturn that does not influence their eligibility for enrollment could make them less competitive when seeking private scholarships and similar aid.

Reduced parental contributions

A parent subject to a child support order often grows to resent that financial obligation even though they love their children. It may be more challenging for young adults to get the financial support they need from both parents to make college financially achievable after a divorce because of the emotional response adults may have to support orders.

There may be practical challenges for parental support during college as well. More of the overall income between both parents will go toward cost-of-living expenses, is that parents will maintain two separate households, and sometimes parents will dip into resources that might have otherwise gone toward college costs to pay for divorce-related expenses.

Recognizing how divorce proceedings can impact a young adult’s college dreams might help parents better navigate the family courts and a upcoming transition to college in more informed ways.

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