Continue effective co-parenting techniques during the new school year
As the new school year begins, many families with divorced parents will need to reexamine their usual routines, to avoid common co-parenting pitfalls when the children are no longer on summer vacation. Particularly for parents who are recently separated or divorced, adhering to certain guidelines during the school year will help to ensure the children's transition is as smooth as possible.
Communication is key
One of the most important things for divorced parents to work on is maintaining an open line of communication regarding their children. When children return to school, the number of activities in which they are participating typically increases significantly. Consequently, parents' schedules are likely to be affected, especially when the parents are sharing custody of the children. If the parents have established an effective method to communicate, it will assist them in resolving scheduling conflicts that are bound to arise.
In addition, by continuing to communicate - even if only in written form - parents can better ensure their children are completing the tasks required at school. When parents share custody, both will share the responsibility of ensuring their children are receiving the help and support needed to finish homework and prepare for exams. Continuing to communicate about their children's academic successes and struggles will ensure neither parent is left in the dark and unable to provide sufficient support.
Resolve practical matters at the beginning of the school year
When children split their time between two different households, there are a few additional steps parents can take to simplify situations for both the children and the school.
At the start of the school year, former spouses who are co-parenting should establish routines, if possible, for the children at school. For instance, informing the school and the children of the weekly schedule - such as which parent will pick up the children from school - will be helpful. In addition, schools should be provided with information regarding whom to contact in the event of an emergency.
In addition, the new school year may negatively affect one parent's time with the children more than the other, depending on the timing of after-school activities. Consequently, parents should consider making adjustments to the custody schedule, if necessary, to reflect the changes in their children's schedule.
The new school year also brings a host of added expenses for parents, including new clothes, school materials and the costs associated with after-school activities. Parents should determine who will be responsible for purchasing certain items at the beginning of the school year, when possible.
If you are considering divorce, consult with a qualified family law attorney to ensure your rights are protected.