NEW GUIDELINES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN NJ; WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR STUDENTS OF DIVORCED PARENTS?

Do you have children attending college this fall? If you do, the campus and students will look very different than it has in previous years. Recently, Governor Murphy said the State of New Jersey will be unveiling guidelines for higher education institutions to follow for reopening this fall.

While the official guidelines have not yet been released, below are some general guidelines all colleges must follow:

  • Require students and staff wear facing coverings indoors.
  • Strongly encourage — though not mandate — students and staff wear face coverings outdoors.
  • Observe 6 feet of social distancing in busy areas, like classrooms and dining halls.
  • Sanitize equipment and materials.
  • Set cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Close common areas.
  • Allow students and faculty with elevated health risks to learn and teach remotely.
  • Accommodate those who test positive for COVID-19, including developing quarantine and isolation procedures.
  • Set up robust testing and contact tracing plans to identify and fight coronavirus spikes.

Practically speaking, most colleges and universities will have to offer a hybrid of in person and remote learning. The changes will also affect whether or not students are able to live on campus, most likely, forcing some to live at home and learn remotely.

So what does all this mean for college students of divorced parents? If a student, who previously lived on campus is forced to live at home, does child support change? Does who pays for college change? Which parent does the student live with? Should the student living at home have more parenting time with the parent he or she does not live with?

For divorced parents these are all very real questions and added stress to the college experience. First, parenting time is the decision of the child. Once a child turns 18, the Court does not enforce a parenting time schedule. Second, since a child is spending more time at home with one parent, child support may increase temporarily. However, any change would have to be by agreement of the parents or through a court order. The same holds true to any changes to the payment of college by the parents.

If you and your spouse are having issues regarding your college student, please contact the Law Offices of Lyons & Associates, P.C. Our skilled and compassionate legal team is focused on the best possible outcome for you and your family. Here, at Lyons we believe in personal attention for personal matters. For more information and/or a free consultation, please visit our website, e-mail us, or call us at 908-271-8998.

Written by: Chris Ann Wright, Esq.