How a divorce might affect a college kid

divorceWhen I first found out that my father was leaving my Mom on Labor Day weekend, I realized that things were probably going to change our lives drastically – besides emotionally but also financially.

For me, it was different because I wasn’t at home at the time. I was here at college. It wasn’t going to affect me on an everyday level. But with phone calls from home and e-mails, I kept in close contact. Not only was I dealing with being a freshman and being on the football team, I also was dealing with some bad homesickness.

I had only been at college 2 weeks when my parents’ separation started. I had just got done with football camp and my first week of classes. Needless to say, it was a crazy, stressful time for a teenager. I also was starting my work-study program and just getting used to a roommate, life on campus and meeting lots of new people.

I knew all of this would change my relationship with my Dad. A lot has to change on his side. I’ve also learned I have to be more upfront with him in what he needs to do to change how I feel about him. Things are totally different. I also fear that my college days at an expensive, private college may be limited to this year. The separation of their finances, the assets and anything else that goes along with divorce is pretty much unknown yet.

My parents will be going through divorce mediation in the next month, and more will be known after that. We just don’t know what’s coming, and neither do I. That’s kind of like how I felt when I first came to college. I had no idea what was coming – the good or the bad.

In the long run, this whole separation thing and divorce might not be a bad thing. Obviously, it will be a struggle. The money situation hasn’t affected this first semester – which is almost over. I haven’t spent much money – a pizza here and there. I have tried to save as much as I can with the money I make during work-study. I do keep my money in a savings account, just in case. My father has promised he will provide the extra $2,000 we’ll need the middle of January for the second semester. I’m hoping he doesn’t back out of that deal. I already have more than $1,500 in my savings from all the money I made last summer in the factory.

I’m going to try to work three weeks during my 4-week Christmas break at the plastics factory. They might not need me. My mother heard because of the economy, the factory hasn’t had as much business, and some people have taken unpaid leaves of absences. That’s a concern, but I’ll try my best to persuade them on the phone one of these days. They don’t put their employment ads in the local newspaper anymore. I’m just crossing my fingers that they need me to help out while others are on holiday vacations. I really need the almost $1,200 that I could accumulate those few weeks.

As a 19-year-old, I have optimism that I will one day be financially secure. I want to unleash my skills someday and truly be a success at whatever I end up doing. For the short term, I think my parents’ divorce will hinder me in a few ways. But I’m hoping for the best.

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Financial Decisions