Back-to-school season after divorce presents some unique challenges that you may not have anticipated. It’s important to have everything ready so that you don’t have any unexpected problems while you’re prepping your kids for the start of the year.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Keep your custody papers handy.
Along with your child’s shot records and other paperwork, you need to have your divorce paperwork and custody papers ready when you enroll your child for the year — especially if your child is changing schools.
If your custody plan spells out any restrictions on your ex-spouse in regard to the children (like prohibiting them from picking the kids up without your permission), that needs to be pointed out to the school administration so that they’re aware of the situation.
2. Remember to put the kids first when dealing with your ex-spouse.
Even if you’re not on the best of terms with your ex, your children want to see both of their parents at important events, like school plays, spelling bees, band concerts, choir performances and graduations. Unless your ex-spouse is barred from attending these events for some reason, make sure that you keep them informed of upcoming events and be welcoming.
3. Schedule joint parent-teacher conferences.
If your child has any difficulties in school, it’s helpful to make sure that you and your ex-spouse are both aware of the issue and working together.
4. Find a way to communicate effectively about school.
You need to be able to communicate with your ex-spouse regarding homework issues and special assignments, book fairs and science projects. Use email to your advantage to pass on information that will help your child perform well in school despite sometimes moving between households.
If there comes a time when changes are necessary to your parenting plan, make sure that you let the school know immediately what the changes are. That’s the best way to avoid major issues down the road.