Starting Off the School Year Strong Post-Divorce

The school year is beginning in earnest. The start of this season tends to be challenging for kids and parents alike. New rhythms must be established and priorities clarified. When parents are newly separated or divorced, it can be hard to know how to approach this time of year. As long as you and your co-parent remain focused on supporting your child and communicating effectively, this time of year will not be needlessly stressful.

Supporting Your Child

Transitioning from a summer schedule to a school year schedule can be a difficult task for children of all ages, especially with the pandemic this year. When kids split their time between two households, challenges with this seasonal transition can be magnified. As a result, it is particularly important for parents who have recently divorced to pay extra attention to their child’s needs during this period of transition. Your kids may not behave as they always have when returning to school. Children once excited by school may seem disinterested and clingy. Excellent students may find themselves suddenly struggling in their classes. Paying close attention to your child’s behavior will help you to notice patterns and provide appropriate support.

Communication Is Key

In order to provide your child with necessary support, you and your child’s other parent will likely need to communicate regularly about scheduling, academic updates, social obligations, and your child’s other needs as they evolve. It is important that you and your co-parent work out a system of communication that allows you to provide each other with necessary information and ask each other questions without exacerbating existing tensions or creating new ones. The last thing that you and your child need right now is to become stressed by otherwise preventable co-parent in-fighting.

One method of communication that is becoming increasingly popular with co-parents is utilizing an online family portal. These sites, which are password protected, generally allow co-parents to communicate via a family calendar, track expenses, and access medical information. Older kids may even be added to some accounts so that they can communicate with one or both parents about scheduling and other important things in a shared forum. These tools can be particularly helpful when co-parents argue frequently about information that may be easily made more accessible.

No matter what method of communication you choose to use with your co-parent, be intentional about your choice. The school year tends to inspire many reasons for co-parent communication, so making your method as effective and hassle-free as possible is ideal.

Help Is Available for Co-parents

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s custody arrangement, please consider reaching out to an experienced family law attorney. Your custody agreement may be modified, provided that the modifications are in the best interests of the child. Either both parents must agree to the modification, or it must be ordered by a judge. Speaking with a lawyer will allow you to both better understand any legal options available to you and make informed decisions in the best interest of your family and your child.