Some parents breathe a sigh of relief during back-to-school season, as their schedules will open up significantly once the children board the bus on the first day of school. Other families have to scramble to make plans while the children have much less time in the home.
It can be difficult for separated or divorced parents to cooperate with one another when unexpected challenges arise. You may be able to avoid major arguments with your ex or stressful last-minute parenting schedule changes by adding terms to your parenting plan that address the major demands of the school year.
What school will the children attend?
When parents divorce and begin living separately, their new living arrangements may have an impact on the children’s education. Especially if both parents move to new homes, the family may no longer be in the same school district.
If only one of the parents is in the same school district, you may need to adjust your custody order to help ensure that your children can stay at the same school and have the support of the friends they have known for years. Otherwise, you and your ex may have to have a discussion about which school district would be the better choice for your children after the divorce.
Who will be responsible during the day?
Although the children are technically in the custody of the school throughout the day, parents sometimes have to drop everything and rush to the school to pick up their children. Both health matters and disciplinary issues might mean that you have to leave work shortly after getting there on a Tuesday morning and go retrieve your child from school.
Parents need to reasonably divide the responsibility of showing up for the children during the school day, or there could be major conflicts when the school calls and needs someone to come get your child.
How will you handle extracurricular demands?
From sports to Model United Nations, there are many extracurricular activities that can enrich your child’s life, but those activities will also diminish how much time they have to spend with the family. One parent losing out on a lot of their time with the children and may lead to conflicts between the parents.
Including guidelines in your parenting plan that allow you to adjust the division of parenting time or your schedule as new demands on your children’s time come up will help you handle these situations without straining your relationship with one another. Planning ahead for issues that may complicate shared parenting arrangements will help you and your ex cooperate and reduce how stressful the situation is for your children.