Co-Parenting During the School Year
Back-to-school season is an exciting time. No matter how old your children are, your schedule will likely become incredibly busy as they get back into the swing of things. From afterschool sports to academic clubs, today’s students are busier than ever. Though an exciting time, this abrupt transition from a relaxing summer schedule to the intensity of a new school schedule can be particularly challenging for divorced families.
As co-parents, your priority is to support your children and help them succeed in school. However, when you’re newly divorced, figuring out how best to accomplish this isn’t always easy. Below we have provided three helpful tips for co-parents as they approach a new school year.
Tip #1: Review Your Child’s School Schedule
When it comes to adjusting to the new school year, being in the know is half the battle. We recommend reviewing your child’s new school schedule with your co-parent before the semester starts. This will allow you to see how the new school year may impact your normal routines and visitation schedule. For example, if your child has a new extracurricular, it may change when and where you and your co-parent manage exchanges.
Important things to know about the year ahead:
- What time does school start and end each day?
- Where does your child need to be dropped off and picked up?
- What are the school holidays, including half days?
- What are your child’s extracurricular and sports plans?
- When are the parent events scheduled, such as back-to-school night, parent-teacher conferences, etc.?
- Are there any field trips or overnight school trips planned?
Tip #2: Understand You & Your Co-Parent’s Responsibilities
Because schedule changes, new academic routines, and new extracurricular activities can significantly impact your child’s day-to-day life, now is also a good time to review your and your co-parent’s responsibilities regarding your children. It is also a good time to review your parenting plan and refresh your memory on what you planned during your divorce. This can help ensure that you are both on the same page regarding your visitation and custody agreement.
If you and your co-parent discover that your original custody and visitation agreement are inadequate for your child’s current needs, it is a good idea to discuss modifying the order. However, if a modification is necessary, it is important that you have this modification officially registered with the courts. Do not just make changes on your own; this may result in being found in contempt of a court order.
Furthermore, when petitioning the courts for a modification, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney familiar with handling custody modifications in Texas (like the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC). Your attorney can help you throughout the process, ensure that your documents are filed correctly, and improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Tip #3: Check In with Your Children
Depending on your divorce timeline, this may be the first time your children return to school post-divorce. This can be an emotional, stressful time for children of all ages. In addition to moving back and forth between two homes, they may also be unsure how to navigate the situation with their teachers and peers. With this in mind, we recommend that you keep communication open with your children so that you can help them through the transition.
Signs your child may be struggling with the transition include:
- They are struggling academically
- They have become emotionally withdrawn
- Their behavior at school or home has dramatically changed
- They exhibit signs of depression or anxiety
- They have lost interest in their hobbies and other activities they used to enjoy
Divorce is hard on everyone, and it can be hard to spot when it’s affecting your children. We know that your priority is supporting your children. At the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC, we are here to help our clients ensure that their family’s post-divorce transition is as smooth as possible. We do this by providing the personalized legal services they need. From divorce services to custody modifications, our legal team is here to help when you need us.