Back-to-school season is upon us. The new year often brings a new school, new teachers and new activities for kids and divorced parents to juggle.
For divorced parents, the beginning of the school year is a great time to hit a reset button and discuss the impending changes to schedules and activities.
Just like the child’s school supply checklist, designed to prepare, organize and assist the child during the school year, there are several items divorced parents should do to help them prepare and organize.
Keep Child Custody Agreements Consistent
If you have children who are minors, you likely agreed on a custody sharing plan for them during the divorce proceedings. For example, the children should know which parent they will be staying with during the school year, who is picking them up from school each day and where they will spend weekends. It’s crucial to stick to the plan or create one that is consistent from week-to-week, so the children do not get confused. This confusion can only add stress to the child as they try to adapt to his or her new classroom.
Use Technology to Improve Communication
Between sports, field trips, piano recitals and doctor appointments – kids and parents have a lot going on these days. We now live in the technology age where scheduling can be done with a swipe on the phone. Use a shared online calendar to organize children’s activities, when schoolwork is due, etc. Make sure everyone can access it from a smart phone, tablet or computer so everyone is fully informed.
Inform Teachers and Counselors
With divorce being more common these days, there still may be a need to help kids deal with the stigma of your divorce. It’s a good idea to make their school counselor or teachers aware so they can keep an eye on things.
This can help young children ask for help if they can’t really answer questions like “why don’t your mommy and daddy live together anymore?”
Develop an Expense Tracking and Sharing System
It can be confusing when trying to remember who paid for what. You’ll need to put a system in place to handle spending that isn’t part of the child support arrangement – such as field trips, book fairs and team sport costs.
Consider opening a shared bank account where each of you deposits money into it. Keep a running tab online using a free document sharing solution, like Google Docs. You and your ex-spouse can both input the information. Keep the receipts and enter them into the document and discuss who will pay for what.
Keep a Unified Front
At the end of the day, both parents are still responsible for raising the children. Keeping things consistent as the child moves from mom’s house to dad’s house will be beneficial. Simple things such as enforcing the same bedtime to keeping similar homework routines can go a long way.
If you and your ex-spouse are having trouble developing a parenting plan for the new school year, the experienced team at Andersen, Tate and Carr can help.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Trinity Hundredmark heads our Domestic Relations Division. She is an experienced attorney with more than a decade of experience representing clients. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-467-3205.