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Birmingham AL Collaborative Divorce Law Blog

Monday, August 7, 2017

Lessons in Co-Parenting: Back-to-School Post-Divorce

As quickly as it began, summer is now drawing to a close. And with the end of summer, comes the beginning of school. For divorced or divorcing couples with children, this can bring on a host of new challenges as you wrangle schedules, expenses and activities.

And if you are newly divorced, the change of seasons may be the first time your kids feel the effects of Mommy and Daddy’s breakup.

Having back to school jitters? Here are four ways to help your kids get back to school:

  1. Maintain the Rituals. Kids love their rituals and routines, and although it may take some effort on your part (especially if you and your ex are still feuding), it may be a step towards setting a good tone for amicable co-parenting. If you both walked your children to school the first day in the past, try to set aside your differences to make that stroll again. Of course, if civility is not an option, you might opt to create a new ritual where Mommy walks the kids to school and Daddy picks them up.
  2. Seek Counsel. Take a proactive approach and inform your child’s school counselor and/or teacher about the changes in your household. No need to provide sordid details. Giving your child’s educators a heads-up about your divorce can provide you with a valuable ally in the classroom should behavioral problems occur.
  3. Cell Out. If you were adamant about not allowing your middle schooler to have a mobile phone until he or she was in high school (or college), post-divorce might be time to reconsider. Outfitting your tween with a mobile device may help keep communication flowing to and from both parents. Just don’t forget to set child-protection features, create usage rules, keep close tabs on his or her texts and apps— and ask your ex to enforce the same guidelines.
  4. Keep Up Online. If you aren’t the custodial parent, you may not see every paper and report that comes home. Fortunately, you can still keep up with your child’s progress thanks to online systems. Most schools provide online grade access through services, such as iNow. (Ask for the account name and password at the beginning of the school year.) You may also want to subscribe to school and PTO emails, e-news, and Remind text alerts (for sports and activities.) School lunches can also be paid online as well as most school fees, making it easy for parents to split expense with ease.

Even under the best circumstances, divorce creates a “new normal.” But with a little forethought and planning, starting the new school year doesn’t have to be a difficult transition.

 

 


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