It may seem like summer has just started, but for divorced parents, it is never too early to plan for a smooth transition back to school, particularly for parents whose divorce was recently finalized or will soon be and who may be planning for their first back-to-school experience as a divorced mom or dad.
Divorce is a challenging experience on many levels, but being prepared can make many aspects of divorce easier to navigate. Preparation can help you manage difficult aspects of your divorce so that you can face them more positively and productively. An experienced Florida divorce attorney may be able to provide you with valuable advice and guidance throughout your divorce as well as how to face challenges post-divorce, but these suggestions may specifically help make your back-to-school transition as a divorced parent a little less stressful.
Create a Shared Calendar
There are many different platforms for creating a shared calendar that parents can use and update to make sure everyone is aware of the schedule and other important aspects of raising children as a divorced family. This type of organization can make transitions between households easier, but it can also help both parents take an active role and keep up-to-date about what a child is doing in school at a particular time.
These calendars are a great place to put other important information, too. For instance, if an event comes up that may require modification of the typical custody schedule, using a calendar can help both parents organize that modification in a way that least disrupts the children. There are countless advantages to integrating technology like a shareable calendar into your parenting plan and routine, and that can certainly be an important part of approaching the back-to-school experience.
Update Your Contact Information
When parents are working on different schedules in the same home, things can still be challenging. That challenge can become even more difficult when two households are involved. No matter how organized you and your co-parent are, emergency situations will likely arise. In those situations, it may not always be possible to rely on the child’s other parent.
That means you need to make sure that school staff are aware of any potential changes that may arise as far as who is able to pick children up, sign them out of school, and make other important decisions. You may need to update emergency contact forms or permission slips, too. It is important to reach out to the school before the school year begins to get a better idea of the easiest way to approach this with your school. Not only does that help cover your bases in an emergency, but it can also help inform the staff about potential issues they may need to deal with as a result of the divorce.
Try to do Things Together
Depending on your relationship with your ex-spouse, doing things together may not be an option that works for you right now. However, if it is possible, then you should try to do important things together. For instance, dropping the kids off on the first day of school is an experience many parents love to share. A divorce does not mean you cannot keep doing that, and appearing together during important moments like the first day can help send the children a message that both parents are there to support them whether divorced or not.
Likewise, events throughout the school year present a positive opportunity for both parents to take an active role in a child’s schooling. For instance, attending parent-teacher conferences together can help make the experience easier for everyone involved, and it allows both parents to remain on the same page as far as the child’s performance in school goes. There are also award ceremonies, school plays, recitals, sporting events, and many other opportunities to stay connected with your child’s educational experience as parents.
Communicate as Openly and Often as Possible
Parents already know how difficult it can be to manage schedules with all of the various activities that kids are involved in. Scheduling regular times to discuss the upcoming schedule with your co-parent is an important way to make the process easier, even if you are both good at using a shared calendar. This can help ensure that projects, tests, soccer matches, dance practice, and other activities are accounted for while also ensuring that both parents have a deeper understanding of their child’s progress.
Communication is also important to tackle other issues that may arise. Many children struggle with divorce, even with divorces where parents remain on good terms. Communication can help parents share observations of a child’s behavior and performance in school or extracurricular activities so that they can better understand how a child is coping with divorce as well as strategies that may help.
Split the Cost of Clothes and Supplies
No matter what your child support and/or spousal support arrangements may be, consider splitting the costs of back-to-school clothes and supplies. Not only does this give both parents an opportunity to be actively engaged in the child’s transition back to school, but it can be a responsible approach to shopping by helping you both establish a budget. In some situations, it can also be an eye-opening experience for parents who may not have been actively involved in this process before by helping them understand just how much the back-to-school experience can cost.
Maintain Your Attorney-Client Relationship
There are many reasons you may need to maintain your relationship with your divorce attorney. An experienced attorney understands the various nuances of your case and that can save you time, money, and energy if you need to revisit important aspects of your case at a later time. Even in situations in which parents remain on amicable terms, there may be a reason to modify child support or custody arrangements depending on your circumstances in the future.
An experienced Florida divorce attorney can also be a good resource in helping you approach divorce, but also in helping you approach many of the obstacles you may encounter after your divorce has been finalized. If you have questions about how Florida divorce might impact you and your family, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation.