It’s back to school time and the new school year brings new teachers, school supplies, homework, a full schedule of extracurricular activities, and other school responsibilities. For divorced parents, the new school year brings about changes to schedules and activities. The best way to keep problems at bay is to keep the lines of communication open to make sure everyone is on the same page. The last thing that you want to do is make the other parent left out of his or her children’s lives. Here are a few things you can do to help prepare, organize and assist you and your children during the new school year:
Back to School Night and School Open Houses
Whether your divorce ended amicably or not, make it a point for both of you to attend the back to school night and open house. This is a great way to let your children know that both of you want to be involved in their lives. Hearing the information for yourself is the best way to know exactly where and when school activities are happening. You always want to get the information firsthand without relying on your ex-spouse (or soon-to-be) to provide information about your children’s school.
Review the School Year and Other Extracurricular Calendars
Always review all calendars to not only make sure you can make arrangements to be there for your child, but this is also a good way to see if any adjustments need to be made to visitation schedules such as adjusting pick-up or drop-off times, transportation and/or location changes. It is best to work these changes out early on rather than waiting until the last minute. If you don’t already have one, create a shared calendar. This can easily be accomplished in Google. Pay special attention to parent-teacher conference dates and make it a point to plan these for a time when both you and your ex can attend.
Contact Information for Teachers, Coaches and Other School Staff
It is important that teachers, coaches, and other school staff have the correct contact information for both parents. This is, of course, assuming there are no protection orders or the like against one of the parents. If there are any such orders, it is imperative that you inform all pertinent people of the situation and who is and is not allowed to pick up your children.
School supply lists have transitioned from the box of #2 pencils and paper to a large list that includes everything from pencils to Kleenex and everything in between. These lists can easily run around $100, which can put a strain on a budget. Talk with the other parent about splitting the additional cost. If you both want to help your child shop for their school supplies, divide the list equally to allow both of you to enjoy that special and exciting time for your children.
After the school supplies are purchased it seems as if there are endless additional costs, agree upfront how those additional costs will be paid for. Child support will most likely not be enough to cover the additional costs, because child support is meant food, shelter, clothing, and basic incidentals.
It is also a good idea to review the costs associated with extracurricular activities together. For example, if your child wants to participate in competitive dance, then there will be additional costs for costuming, competitions fees and travel as well as dance class fees. It is best that two of you understand the costs and time demands associated with such activities before you commit.
Taking a little extra time in the beginning will make for a much smoother and easier school year. It will also let your children know that you both want to be involved in their lives and they are top priority to both parents.
If you are going through a divorce, need child custody advice or modifications to visitation and custody agreements contact Kevin Hickey Law Partners today. Let our experience and knowledge help foster a positive co-parenting relationship for both parents and the children. Your children will be more successful in school and other activities if you both are involved with their education.