For kids, the summer always seems to go too fast. However, even though it’s still summertime, some of us already have back-to-school on our minds. If you went through or finalized a divorce over the summer, you may have some concerns or questions about your child returning to school this year.
Even if you and your ex-spouse have legally ended your marriage and talked about the divorce within your family, there’s still the issue of school. Which parent will sign permission slips, or report cards, or attend parent-teacher conferences? Who should the school contact in the event of an emergency? These are issues that must be mutually agreed upon and taken care of in advance.
Communication is always the key when co-parenting after divorce. We’ve also collected some helpful pieces of advice over the years to help ease the stress.
Discuss your children’s concerns
Sometimes the easiest thing you can do is just ask your children if they have any worries about the upcoming year. They may have concerns, especially if they’re starting a new school. Try to maintain an open dialog with your children throughout the school year, and they’ll be more likely to come to you for guidance.
Inform teachers and school staff
Your children’s teachers or bus driver may be used to seeing either you or your ex-spouse pick up your children every day. Since your divorce, this may change, and you need to let the school know about this ahead of time. You can call your school for the exact procedure, but typically you can give a schedule to the school of who will pick up the children on what days.
You should also update any necessary contact information. It’s good to let your children’s upcoming teachers know of your divorce, especially so they can let you know if they see any negative or drastic changes in behavior.
And—perhaps most importantly—you can alert the school as to who is not allowed to pick up your children or accompany them off school grounds.
Make a schedule with your ex
You and your ex-spouse should compare schedules and agree on who will handle what prior to the start of the year, as best you can. For example, if you work late every Wednesday and your child has band practice, you’ll need to make a schedule to accommodate that in advance. You’ll also need to keep things like scheduled school days off or emergency weather days in mind.
The new school year means more parent-teacher meetings. Will just one parent attend these meetings, or will you both attend together? Or will you each attend every other meeting? Whatever you choose, make a schedule in advance and stick with it as much as possible—consistency matters.
Counselors are available
Psychologists and counselors are usually available in schools to help make the transition easier. If your child is having a difficult time, these professionals can help in a way that we, as parents, simply can’t. Find out what options are available to you and your family as soon as (or before) the school year starts.
Here at the Law Offices of LaFevor & Slaughter, our Knoxville family law attorneys can help you navigate through the intricacies of divorce. We’re experienced in all aspects of divorce and family law and can answer any questions you have about the process. Call us at 865.272.4454 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation with an attorney today.