The onset of the school year can bring about conflict for separated or divorced parents. During this time, it is not uncommon for parents to disagree about how to handle a multitude of school issues:
- Should our child be enrolled in special/honors education?
- Does our child need tutoring, and if so who will pay for it?
- Should our child be enrolled in soccer?
- Do we need to change the access schedule during the school year?
These are some of the many questions that separated and divorced parents find themselves grappling with come September.
Whether you are divorced from your child's parent or you were never married to each other, you still need to co-parent. To help make the school year smoother for all members of the family, there are steps you can take.
Communication is key
It may not always be comfortable to talk with the other parent, but it is important when making parenting decisions. In addition, you may want to have a discussion with the teacher or school if you and the other parent each want to receive report cards, conference notices, school newsletters and other information.
There are critical school events that both parents may want or need to attend such as:
- Teacher conferences
- Plays, concerts and sporting events
- Field trips and school dances
Each parent needs to receive information about these events so they can decide to attend. If the relationship between the parents is civil, they may be able to attend the events together. If it is not, they may need to plan who will attend which event or ask the school to help accommodate their needs for separate conferences, for example.
Parenting plans can be a starting point
When people create a parenting plan, they can write as much detail as they choose into the plan, including how to handle school issues. However, it isn't always possible to anticipate every situation that arises.
If you need to modify a custody or parenting agreement, or you need to create an agreement, you can work with a family law attorney to help. Anticipating conflict before it arises can reduce future tensions with the other parent and allow your child to thrive as he or she transitions into the school year.