The end of the summer holidays can be bittersweet. Children are torn between sadness that school is starting again and excitement to see their friends; parents are sorry to be spending less time with their children, but relieved to get back on a regimented schedule. For parents who are recently divorced or separated, navigating the back-to-school experience can be hectic.
Deciding who will buy school supplies, who will provide after-school childcare, and who will monitor homework and attend parent-teacher conferences are all things to be considered. Each family’s situation is different, but there are some steps you can take that will make the transition easier for everyone.
- Do your best to cooperate with your ex – Former spouses often have hard feelings towards each other, but getting your child ready for school is a crucial time to put those differences aside and work as a team. Prioritize the things that really matter, and try to let the rest go. Using shared calendars and an email address that is exclusively for child-related communication can help you and your ex avoid hostile face-to-face conversations.
- Plan ahead with your child’s school – Talk to your child’s teacher about the recent change in your family situation. The more openly you communicate with the teacher, the easier it is for the teacher to accommodate you and your child. Make sure the school has a list of adults who are allowed to check out or pick up your child, including stepparents or grandparents. Consider attending parent-teacher conferences with your ex so you can share your concerns and make appropriate plans for your child’s academic future.
- Be flexible about costs – Decide ahead of time who will pay for certain expenses, but be prepared for unexpected costs to pop up. After a backpack gets left in your ex’s home for the umpteenth time, you may decide to keep a spare in your home even if you have to pay for it yourself. If your child needs supplies, avoid holding them over the child’s head until your ex pays their fair share. Prioritize your child’s education, and work the details out behind the scenes.
Speak with a Naperville, IL Family Lawyer
A seasonal scheduling change does not have to mean you are facing conflict when it comes to working with your ex. At Calabrese Associates, we have experience helping clients arrange parenting plans that work for everyone. Whether you are involved in the divorce process right now or are hoping to modify an existing parenting plan, we can help. Call us today at 630-393-3111 to set up your confidential consultation with a skilled DuPage County family law attorney.