Move-in Day with Divorced Parents

My parents are divorced and both plan on helping me move. I’m going to school in NYC so my mom and step-father plan on staying a few days after I move in. I’m flying out with them Saturday night for move in Sunday morning. My dad plans on driving in with most of my stuff. While my mom and dad are civil, my dad and step-dad are not. Does anyone know a way I can make move-in work? I want all three of them there but I don’t know how to organize it in a way I don’t get overwhelmed trying to get situated and play family counselor lol. Thanks for the help!

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Divide and conquer, 4 adults trying to move a student into a tiny dorm sounds like a nightmare even if the roommate isn’t there. Maybe your stepfather can go explore a bit.


In situations like this, if at all possible, revert to nuclear family. It’s not as if this is your wedding day. It’s just moving your stuff from the car into your dorm room.

Your mom and stepdad are coming for an NYC vacation, that happens to coincide with your move in. Your father is driving in with most of your stuff. It should not take more than a few hours to move your stuff from the car to the dorm. You ask stepfather to amuse himself in NYC on his own during that time (I suspect that he will be DELIGHTED to not have to carry things or see your father), while you, mom, and father move your stuff up to your dorm room. Mom then rejoins her husband, while you and your father go for a quick bite alone, before he takes off, and at some point (or multiple points) before your mom and stepdad leave NYC, you have them come see you in your new dorm room, show them the campus, introduce them to your roommates, and maybe have a quick bite with mom and stepdad.

This way, you get moved in, you get time alone with father, and time alone with mom and stepfather, and no misery with stepfather and dad conflict, since they will not see each other.

If, however, you consider those few hours of schlepping stuff from car into dorm room as some sacred ceremony, where you need all three of them standing by your side for photo ops, consider it a dry run for your wedding, without a caterer, florist, or band. Lots of luck, kid.


Do you have your move-in schedule yet? You may only have a very small window to move in and then you are off to orientation activities and they may or may not have optional parent sessions. Other good suggestions on this thread about sending some off for errands to divide and conquer.

Did you school announce if they are even letting parents in the dorm for move-in ? I think several of the NYC schools have not made a decision about letting parents/helpers in the dorms yet.

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Sadly, you may need to set the boundary with all parental units and tell them you will not tolerate rudeness or incivility between adults in your presence and you will ask them to leave if they can’t behave.

It’s your day and if they can’t focus on helping you they should not be there.

My kids stepmom still cant tolerate my presence after 10 years. She keeps her distance by her own choice.