It's that time of year: back-to-school for the kids. Whether your little one will be starting their first day of kindergarten, or gearing up for their last year of high school -- and everything in between -- now is the time of year when parents are trying to figure out how their schedules will work for the next school year.
In general, the balancing act for parents can be hard, especially for those who are divorced. However, with some careful planning and proactive communication, divorced parents can navigate the school year in a way that works for everyone.
The importance of solid communication
A recent article titled, "Newly divorced? Back-to-school situations don't have to be awkward," focused on how divorced parents can navigate the back-to-school season in a healthy manner. According to one teacher -- who is also a single parent of two children herself -- being upfront and honest with teachers can go a long way. This means letting the teacher know exactly what is going on at home. Is the divorce final? Are you currently going through a divorce? Are the children spending half the week with mom and half the week with dad? This is all information that may seem personal, but teachers will benefit from knowing what is going on.
For example, while some ex-spouses get along great, others may find it difficult to both attend a parent-teacher conference together. In these cases, it is best to speak up to see if having two separate meetings is possible.
Speak up if something does not seem right
Additionally, when it comes to navigating the school year, technology will be your friend. Many schools now use different apps, digital portfolios and electronic newsletters to communicate with parents. To make sure both parents are receiving the same information, make sure the school has contact information for both parents -- and speak up if you think your child's other parent is getting information that you are not.
There are times when it may be frustrating handling school situations when co-parenting. However, by being open and honest it is more than possible to navigate the school year in a way that lets your child or children know they are loved and supported by both parents.
Decisions regarding school fall under the category of legal custody. Legal custody is something both parents can have, equally. However, if there is reason to believe one parent is over-stepping their boundaries, or restricting access and parental rights, this is something that you will want to share with your attorney.
At Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law we help to establish parental rights and custody agreements, and we will seek modifications or enforcement of an existing agreement.