The Best Back-To-School Tips for Divorced Parents
It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, and children everywhere are gearing up to head back to school. For divorced parents, this can be a difficult time. You may feel like you are juggling a million things at once. But don’t worry – we have compiled the best back-to-school tips for divorced parents! Follow these tips so that your child (and you) will enjoy a smoother transition back into the school year routine.
Communication is the First Priority
First and foremost, communication is key. Talk to your co-parent about your child’s schedule and what each of you will handle with regard to expenses, supplies, and pre-first day requirements for registration, etc. If you have joint custody, make sure that you are on the same page about drop-offs, pick-ups, and extracurricular activities. It is also important to talk to your child about their schedule and what they can expect for the upcoming year. If there are any changes (e.g., a new school, new teacher, etc.), make sure that your child is prepared both emotionally and logistically.
The start of a new school year usually comes with a lot of paperwork – from registration forms to medical and emergency contact information. Make sure that you have all of the necessary paperwork in order before the school year starts. This will save you a lot of headaches (and last-minute scrambling) down the road.
Be sure to share all information received before and on the first day of school with your co-parent. Each parent will need to know classroom rules, grading policies, and teacher expectations for homework and parent-teacher communication. Regardless of how the child is registered for school attendance, many teachers send home their own contact information sheets for their personal files. Assuming there are no court orders stating otherwise, each parent’s information should be included on these teacher forms so that the teacher always knows how to reach the child’s parents.
If there are stepparents actively involved in the child’s day-to-day life, their information should also be shared with teachers. The more you can introduce your child’s teachers to the important daily details and family members in your child’s life, the better the teacher can help meet their needs and keep everyone involved in your child’s path to a successful year.
Set Ground Rules for Technology Use
In today’s world, technology is everywhere. And if your child is like mine, their school issues them a computer or other technology device to use during their studies. And while these devices can be a great tool for helping children with their schoolwork, they can also be a major distraction leading to problems that the child may not be prepared to manage alone.
Before the school year starts, sit down with your child and set some ground rules for how and when they can use technology during the week. For example, you may want to set a rule that devices must be turned off and put away during homework time. Or, if the device is necessary to complete all of their school- and homework, you may want to limit screen time for other purposes to weekends.
Whatever rules you decide on, make sure that both you and your child are clear on what is expected. And don’t forget to include your co-parent in the discussion about the rules so that the child knows the rules can and will be enforced consistently in both homes.
The start of the school year is an exciting (and sometimes stressful) time for families. But if you are a divorced parent, it can be especially challenging to navigate. By following the tips above, you can set yourself, your co-parent, and most importantly, your child up for a successful and enjoyable school year.
If you find yourself struggling to co-parent with your ex and you’re worried your child’s academic success may be negatively affected by your situation, it’s important to get advice from an experienced family law attorney before making any changes to your custody situation.
If you’re struggling with issues surrounding child custody or need help finding the best ways to build a cooperative parenting agreement with your co-parent, talking with an experienced family court attorney will help. If you’re in South Carolina, contact a trusted family law attorney like Ben Stevens today to discuss your specific situation. Even if you aren’t in South Carolina, Mr. Stevens is happy to offer referrals to a well-qualified attorney located in your state.
Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and he is a Board-Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. If you or someone you know is facing a divorce, separation, child custody, visitation, or other family law case, contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule a consultation.
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Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.
ABOUT J. BENJAMIN STEVENS
Ben.Stevens@offitkurman.com | 864.598.9172
Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina. His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.
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