Back-To-School Tips For Divorced Families
By : Brad Frakes | Category : Child Custody, Divorce |
19th Aug 2014
More than 60 million American children go back to school every September. In most cases, children experience mixed feelings about this time of the year. Some children are sad that the end of summer has arrived, while others are excited to see their friends and begin a new school year. This is also an unusual time of year for parents and can be increasingly complicated for parents that are divorced.
For newly divorced parents, the first day of school can present several trying issues. For divorced parents, these school related issues can include: Which parent pays for what? Who is the emergency contact if there is a problem? Which parent chaperons field trips? Who decides which activities the child will be involved with? What school will the child attend? Is it closer to the Mom’s house or the Dad’s house?
For divorced parents, these questions should be answered prior to the start of the school year. Lawyers suggest that parents should follow specific guidelines to guarantee the child starting school does not result in the parents going back to court.
Get On A Similar Page
It is important to avoid making school any more difficult than it has to be for the child. Most children adjust faster to the divorce when the parents agree on routines. In some cases, meeting in a neutral location before the school year begins is a good way to discuss the details of the routine. This process can help iron-out potential disagreements such as pickups, emergency procedures, and after-school activities. After the parents come to an agreement, it is best to write it down and share it with the children.
Meet With The Teacher
In the event of a recent divorce, it is beneficial to inform the teacher that the child is from a shared custody or divorced home. In some instances, children experiencing a separation or divorce will lash out in school. Moreover, these children normally experience frustration and emotional issues. Meeting with the teacher can help inform the teacher about what’s happening with the child.
Share Important Information
Divorced parents should not create obstacles or withhold information from the noncustodial parent. Sharing information is necessary unless the parents have a protective order. Giving permission to the child’s counselor, teacher, and medical professional can allow them to share important school information with each parent.
Create Duplicate Notifications
As previously stated, it is important to share student information. It is also important to organize separate and duplicate notifications. These notifications can include information about school activities and academic progress. Organizing duplicate notifications ensures that one parent is not held accountable for sending and copying information.
Additionally, these notifications can include graded test and homework. The most effective method for sharing schoolwork is to place a folder in the child’s backpack specifically for these types of papers. This allows each parent to view the contents of the folder regularly. It is important to note that this system can help avoid putting the child in the middle.
Divorced parents should understand that it is necessary to remain courteous and polite to one another at school events. Remaining cordial will allow both parents to attend the school event at the same time. In most cases, the event only lasts a few hours and over the course of a few months. If good-natured behavior is not possible, the parents should attend the events on different nights or during different times.
Paying School Expenses
Although custodial parents generally pay for back-to-school supplies and clothes, divorced parents can create a plan to share these expenses. Some parents attempt to purchase all supplies and clothes at one store. This can help reduce confusion. It is equally important to retain copies of all receipts to offer a record of what was purchased.
Over the course of a school year, there are several school-related events. These events can include recitals, sports practices, concerts, meets, and science fairs. It is best to synchronize the parenting calendar with the school event calendar. This can guarantee that each parent and the child are able to attend important events. Each parent should have a copy of the calendar in the home. Some parents give a copy of the calendar to the teacher to inform the teacher which parent will be present at each event.
Some children have specific projects they want mom to help with, while other projects they require dad’s help. Divorced parents should expect this and create a plan to handle duties for different science fairs and soapbox derbies. When noncustodial parents are supervising a project, it is useful to have all the details. Custodial parents should offer all information concerning deadlines and project requirements. Moreover, custodial parents should try and remain hands off. This helps create a positive experience for the child and the noncustodial parent.
This advice and tips assume that the divorced parents are not a danger to each other. In the event of a protective order by the court, the parents should take the necessary precautions and employ the tips that are legally helpful.
For divorced parents, communication is the most important aspect of helping children succeed during the school year. Parents should remember that school is important to the child, not the parents. For the sake of the child, it is essential that both parents have involvement in the child’s academic progress and school events. When a child is dealing with a divorce, school is a place of refuge. This is a place where the child can learn, achieve, and have fun while forgetting about the parental issues affecting the home.
No matter what, divorced parents need to agree and make a decision to do whatever is in the best interest of the child.