School will be starting up before you know it. While your children might be excited about it, this time of year can certainly bring challenges. This is particularly true when it comes to navigating your relationship with your child’s other parent. As difficult as that may be, there are some considerations that you can take into account to make life a little bit easier during the back-to-school time of year.
Ways to make back-to-school easier
If you share custody with your child’s other parent, then you need to come up with a plan to make back-to-school as smooth and as conflict-free as possible. How do you do that? Here are some ideas that you may find beneficial to utilize:
- Review your court orders: It’s normal for custody arrangements to become a little more relaxed over the summer when your child has fewer obligations. Once school starts up, though, you’ll want to make sure that your child has a clear and consistent schedule, and that everyone is on the same page. The best way to do this is to review your custody orders. These should specify visitation arrangements, time-sharing, and how educational decisions should be made. It might be helpful to review these orders with your child’s other parent so that you both have the same understanding.
- Discuss educational costs: The cost of school supplies can quickly add up. To ease the burden, you’ll want to discuss with the other parent how to share these costs. Clarify who will do the actual shopping and reimbursement or if instead, each parent will do their own shopping.
- Talk about the first day of school: The first day of school is a big event for your child. Think about how you can make it a positive experience for him or her by including your child’s other parent, if doing so is possible. If you and your child’s other parent can’t both send the child off on the first day, then consider sharing photographs or videos of the event.
- Discuss extracurricular activities: Now is the time to start talking about extracurricular activities, too. That way you and your child’s other parent have an understanding of the costs associated with them and how they’ll be paid. If you have disagreements about which activities your child should participate in, then now is the time to seek clarification from the court.
- Think about emergencies and school closures: It’s best to come up with a plan to deal with emergencies and school closures ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute to figure out childcare. Discuss with the other parent how this might affect the ordered parenting time schedule and pick-ups and drop-offs. Consider how best to communicate during these situations.
- Work together to develop consistency: Children thrive on consistency and routine. Therefore, talking to your child’s other parent about discipline, homework, and bedtimes is beneficial for your child. Try to be flexible and meet the other parent in the middle so that you can better ensure that you have an arrangement in place that will be adhered to.
Seek out assistance if you need it
If you’re struggling to come to an agreement with your child’s other parent regarding any of the above-mentioned issues, or if your child’s other parent fails to adhere to set plans moving forward, then you may need to seek guidance from the court. If that’s the case, then consider reaching out to an attorney who is adept at handling child custody disputes so that you can ensure that your child’s best interests are as fully protected as possible.