Back to School Co-Parenting
The beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time for students and their parents. As children get ready for new changes and routines, co-parents may find new challenges arise. Setting the right tone for the school year begins by remembering the following important tips.
Anticipate School Year Needs
Preparation is an important part of transitioning to back to school routines. Prior to the start of the school year, co-parents should make decisions on how custody modifications, parenting time changes, and payment of school expenses should be handled.
Common questions that arise during back to school time include:
- Which parent is purchasing or paying for school supplies, including school clothes?
- How school information will be communicated to both parents throughout the year?
- Where does the child go on scheduled days off?
- Who will be responsible for dropping off or picking up at extracurricular activities?
- What will happen to the child if the school day is cancelled or delayed due to bad weather?
- Who will pay for extra tutoring if needed?
Reviewing these areas prior to the start of the school year can help avoid future disagreements.
Miscommunication can result in unnecessary conflicts. By avoiding assumptions and communicating school year expectations, parents can make sure everyone, including the school, teacher, and child is on the same page. The start of the school year can cause emotional or behavioral challenges for children. Communicating any changes in a child’s moods or usual activity level with the other parent can ensure these types of issues are addressed immediately.
If both parents want to receive their own copies of important school materials such as calendars or report cards, this expectation needs to be shared with the appropriate school authorities in the beginning of the school year. Most schools will be open to sending home multiple copies when notified in advance of the family situation. Some families create a shared calendar using online options like Google Calendar, OurFamilyWizard, or Cozi to track important school deadlines and events. Parents can also obtain their own user name and passwords for online grades and activities.
Keep the Goal in Mind
Both parents must remember that a successful school year for their child is the goal. Using changes caused by the new school as leverage in custody disputes rarely is in the best interest of the child and can lead to deep distrust and the other parent’s unwillingness to cooperate in the future. By presenting a unified front on the importance of homework and other school rules, the child ultimately benefits.
Allowing both parents to be actively involved in their child’s education will benefit the entire family. This includes planning ahead so both parents can attend important school functions including parent-teacher meetings, concerts, sporting events, and awards ceremonies.
Revise Parenting Plans
Often custody and visitation agreements need to be modified to accommodate sports practices, music lessons, and other school activities. To protect the rights of both parents, changes to existing parenting plans should be made formally in writing with the assistance of an experienced Bridgewater family lawyer.
Bridgewater Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Protect the Rights of Divorced Parents Throughout New Jersey
At Lyons & Associates, P.C., our dedicated Bridgewater family law lawyers handle divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, and alimony issues for families throughout New Jersey. With offices conveniently located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we proudly represent individuals throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains. To schedule a free initial consultation with a Bridgewater family law lawyer today, call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online.