In Kentucky and throughout the country, summer vacation will be winding down next month. This means many children will be heading back to school. If you’re among those parents who have recently filed for divorce, the back-to-school season may seem like treading water in unfamiliar territory. You and your kids need time to adapt to your new lifestyle.
You and your ex hopefully parted ways on peaceful terms. It is not uncommon, however, for parents to disagree about certain child-related issues, especially during a new school year. Have you and your co-parent carefully ironed out all the potential wrinkles in your back-to-school plan? Did you sign a child custody agreement yet?
Ways to avoid co-parenting stress in a new school year
While both you and your former spouse may have your children’s best interests in mind, it may not seem that way if you disagree. One of the best ways to avoid back-to-school stress is to make sure everyone is clear on the terms of your agreement and how you will handle certain school situations throughout the year. For instance, will you or your ex be driving the kids to school, or will they be riding a bus, and if so, who will take them to and from the bus stop?
You and your kids might have a back-to-school shopping tradition. However, their other parent may want to take them shopping as well. To avoid buying duplicate items, it helps to touch base with each other ahead of time, perhaps devising a list of what you and what your ex will be responsible for purchasing.
Who helps with homework?
Children fare best in divorce when they have ample opportunity to spend time with both parents. Even if your kids live with you full-time, it helps keep the peace if they regularly talk to their other parent about school issues. Both of you can help with homework, and if your ex lives a distance away, you can use Zoom or other virtual chat apps to ensure that your kids can have easy access to their other parent when they want to talk about school with him or her.
Keep important papers in a parent backpack
Especially if you have a shared custody agreement, your children will be traveling back and forth between two households. This can cause a lot of confusion when kids are trying to keep papers and other important school items organized. Many Kentucky parents use a parent backpack system where the adults pass a backpack back and forth with any papers that need a parent’s signature or other important notices.
Support if problems arise
Your family is going through a lot of changes in divorce, and it’s understandable if you or your kids experience emotional turmoil from time to time. Your child’s school counselor can be an asset to help your kids when they’re at school. If a legal issue arises, you can reach out for additional support to help you protect your rights and ensure that your children’s best interests are well-served.