The education that a child receives while they are young will irrevocably influence their future opportunities in life. The middle school and high school someone attends may determine what colleges they can apply to and what financial aid they can secure. Academic performance and extracurricular activity can also give employers an idea of someone’s capabilities and help them develop the skills they need to thrive in their career.
Parents often choose where they live and how they budget their money in part to help secure their children the best education possible. Unfortunately, family issues could impact their education negatively. A divorce or separation of a child’s parents is one of the most traumatic experiences they may have while still young, and it could very well negatively affect their educational prospects as well.
Divorce often leads to a drop in grades
Even the smartest and best-adjusted children struggle with the changes involved when parents separate. There is a known correlation between worsening academic performance and parental conflict. There may be a drop in grades and also behavioral issues in school during and after the parents’ divorce.
Parents who provide support, such as therapy, for their children can minimize the psychological consequences of divorce. Trying to reduce how much conflict the children witness can also reduce how much they struggle to adjust to the new family circumstance.
Divorce often impacts educational investments
After divorce, parents often focus on rebuilding their lives, which may mean they don’t have the resources to set aside for college savings or to invest in the costs of extracurricular activities for the children.
Kids may also have to sacrifice some of their ambitions, like theater involvement or sports, given the pressures of a shared custody arrangement. Some parents will also come to resent the obligations of child support so much that they refuse to contribute to college costs even though they once acknowledge that college was key to their child’s future success.
Parents hoping to protect their children from the worst consequences of divorce have to be honest with themselves about what to expect and how to help their children. Making what the kids need the primary focus of child custody negotiations will benefit the entire family in the long term.