If you have more anxiety than usual about your child returning to school in the fall because it’s the first time since your separation or divorce, imagine how they feel. There are a lot of things that you and your co-parent can do to make things easier for all of you.
However, they require some amount of cooperation and communication if you’re sharing custody. Let’s look at a few.
Work out how expenses will be covered
If you already have a child support order or other agreement that includes school expenses, that should help. However, it may not cover every item or anticipate cost increases or new expenses.
You need to work out how expenses from private school tuition to lunch money and everything in between will be split or reimbursed. Your child shouldn’t have to go back and forth between parents to get a field trip paid for. Even if you don’t codify it in your parenting plan or elsewhere, you should have it in writing so both of you can refer to it.
Consistency in homework, grades and other school-related expectations
While parental divorce can have a negative effect on kids’ grades, it doesn’t have to. If you and your co-parent both make homework a priority over screen time, stay involved in the projects your child is working on and stick to the same school night bedtime schedule, they’ll likely find some comfort in that, even if they complain.
Give the appropriate people at school a “heads up”
It’s a good idea if you let your child’s teacher and possibly a counselor, coach or other adult at school who’ll be around your child know that you and your co-parent are living separately but that both want to stay involved. Make sure they have both sets of contact information so they can send information to both of you.
It’s typically best if co-parents can attend parent-teacher conferences and other school events near the beginning of the year together so that you’re both hearing the same information. It helps overworked teachers as well.
Expect the unexpected
Not everything is going to go smoothly. That would be the case even if you were still together. However, regular communication between you and your co-parent by whatever methods you find most effective can help. If you need to make some modifications to your parenting plan or other documents or have a problem you can’t resolve on your own, having experienced legal guidance helps.