Lessons for co-parents as kids go back to school

Co-parents can follow some simple tips to smooth the transition to the school year.

The school year presents unique challenges for divorced parents and their children. As children get back into the routine of attending classes and doing homework, it is a good idea for parents to take a moment to reevaluate their co-parenting plan.

While parents may have been able to introduce some flexibility into the children's routine during the summer months, returning to a more structured environment is often easier for both children and divorced parents once the school year begins.

Consequently, parents can take some steps to make certain their children are able to transition to the school year as seamlessly as possible.

Plan ahead

Divorced parents who share physical custody of their children can work to ensure their children are always prepared for the school day, regardless of which parent's house they slept in the night before.

For instance, both parents should make sure they have school-appropriate clothes at home, particularly if the children wear a uniform to school. In addition, it is a good idea to ensure the tools needed to complete homework are present in both homes. Having such necessities in both homes will make it easier for children, especially when they are going back and forth between houses during the school week.

Parents should also consider creating a calendar that can be posted in both residences. A posted calendar will help parents remember the custody plan for the week and will allow older children the ability to plan, as well. For example, if a child typically gets math help from one parent and English help from another, he or she can plan to do projects in those subjects when staying with each parent.

Dealing with finances

Generally, the start of a new school year is accompanied by many expenses for parents. Parents of children involved in sports, music and other after school activities typically must pay fees.

If those expenses were not considered previously, it is a good idea to make a decision regarding these extra expenses at the beginning of the school year. That way, when a child has a field trip halfway through the school year, there will be no question regarding which parent will be responsible for the fee.

Brush up on your co-parenting skills

Of course, the typical considerations regarding co-parenting are just as important during the school year as the summer vacation. Parents should ensure they always speak about their former spouse with respect when their children are present. In addition, parents should determine a constructive method of communication to handle all matters relating to the children.

Parents who are thinking about getting a divorce need a skilled legal professional on their side. If you are in such a situation, talk to a knowledgeable family law attorney, who will allow you to focus on co-parenting your children rather than the legal details of the divorce.

Keywords: co-parents, school, divorce, custody