June 17, 2013

Post-graduation Parental Support


Divorced or uncoupled parents of graduates will have a few extra issues to deal with.

We hope they can plan the graduation party together and agree on who hosts it, who is invited, how the costs will be covered, etc., but there is more.

Did they foresee post-high school college costs and provide for them in their divorce decree?  There is no provision in Minnesota law about parents sharing college costs, but parents are making agreements every day about how to share these costs, and they are more likely to make such an agreement in a collaborative divorce.

Under Minnesota law, child support typically ends when the child has graduated from high school and is past the age of 18.   Parents can of course choose a later time based on their family needs and circumstances.

High school graduates generally won’t have any medical and dental insurance coverage of their own, and will need their parents to continue this insurance.  Minnesota and federal law now requires most insurers to allow adult children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan up to the age of 26.

Besides financial practical considerations, it’s important to remember that this can be a vulnerable time for these not-quite-adult children.  It’s exciting to graduate from high school and begin the next chapter of their lives, but there are many changes that come with graduation.

At the end of summer, they and their friends will be scattered at different colleges, in the military or other places.  Additionally, unless the graduate will live at home, there will be the many changes that come with a new living situation.  Their parents and siblings will be less accessible and their standard of living will probably be lower.  Truly their lives will never be the same and they may need some extra support during this time of change.  It can be helpful to remember our own feelings and experiences when we graduated from high school.


Mary Antonia WilmesABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Antonia Wilmes

Mary Antonia Wilmes’ career has been centered on families. She has been an attorney handling family law cases since 1985, has mediated family cases since 1993, and has handled collaborative cases since 2003. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six. Both Mary’s family and her clients continue to teach her how to best serve family members’ needs. Learn more about Collaborative Law also known as Collaborative Practice or Collaborative Divorce at our MN Institute website and at our international organization’s website.

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