Back to school tips for co-parents after divorce

pencils.jpgIt’s that time of year. Summer is coming to a close and school is almost back in session. For divorced parents, this may present its own unique set of challenges in addition to the usual back to school transition. Below are common issues that can come up and tips to resolve.

Change in custody schedule – The new school year means new activities, new sports, new friends, and new problems with visitation schedules for parents who are separated or divorced. Parents should work together to find an agreeable schedule for them and for the child. Parents should communicate the changes with the children and prepare them for upcoming changes.

Finances – with the new school year comes new financial burdens. Fees for tuition, books, supplies and extracurricular activities add up. In Indiana, public school fees (including books, bus etc.), are considered a controlled expense and should be paid for by the custodial parent. However, private school tuition and extracurricular activity expenses are either decided by a court order or an agreement by the parents. Often times, parties will agree to the splitting of these fees, whether proportionately to income or equally. Pay the expenses you have been ordered or agreed to pay. Paying your attorney fees to argue over these expenses will probably exceed the costs of paying for the expenses themselves.

Activities and Schedules– During the school year, there are sporting events, performances, conference and other events that both parents should attend. At the start of the school year, both parents should sit down and make plans for school events, vacations and early-release days. A huge part of your child’s happiness is receiving love and support from both parents with peace and harmony. Don’t fight, argue or cause any conflict with your ex at school events. Period.

Back to school can be a stressful time for a family, especially after a divorce. Putting your differences aside to focus on your children can only make that transition easier for them and create a positive foundation to start the school year from.