Kids are headed back to school and it’s a time of mixed feelings and emotions – for kids and parents. No matter how old your kids are or how many times you’ve been through it as a parent, it’s natural for everyone to feel excited, anxious, happy, terrified, sad, and a whole host of other emotions. The divorce attorneys at Baker & Harris Law see parents dealing with this every year.
When sending kids back to school divorced parents are likely to experience an additional level of craziness. Who is paying for what? Who’s responsible for homework and after-school activities? Who does the school call in an emergency? Making custody agreements work for kids and parents can be a bit overwhelming.
There’s no need to play games. Don’t hoard information or create obstacles for the noncustodial parent to get information. Providing you don’t have a protective order, give permission to the children’s teachers, counselors, and medical professionals to share information with both of you.
It’s also helpful to arrange for duplicate notifications. Setting up duplicate notifications about academic progress and school activities makes it so one parent is not responsible for copying and sending information to the other.
Kids are more likely to adjust quickly if you’re in agreement about their routines. This will make things easier on you as well. Try meeting in a neutral location without the kids to discuss the details first. Once you agree on things, share it with your children. It’s also helpful to write it down. Most importantly, keep things simple and be consistent.
Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher and get off to a good start. Head off any issues by sitting down with your child’s teacher or school counselor before the school year starts to explain the family situation. This is probably best done without your child present. Children of divorce are more likely to act out in school. It will help if your child’s teacher knows the situation ahead of time.
Kids with two homes need a portable universe that is uniquely theirs. Make sure they have everything they need, no matter whose place they’re staying at. Small consistencies can make a big difference.
Coordinate the school calendar with your parenting schedule. Have calendars in each house and one in your child’s backpack. You will want to make sure your child is able to attend important events. Also, anticipate special projects and make arrangements for your child to get needed help from the other parent when appropriate.
Above all, remember to stop and ask yourself what’s in the best interest of your child. Doing this gets you an A+ every time. Communication is very important and a written record can help keep issues straight and problems at bay. But sometimes even the best of intentions can go awry. At Baker and Harris Law we understand this. Divorce attorneys, Jonathan Harris and Jared Harris are here to consult with you on all of your family law issues. You can schedule a consultation by calling 208-785-2310.