Getting ready for back to school as a newly divorced family

As we here in Southeast Texas get closer to the end of the school year it is understandable for our minds to drift more towards days spent having fun in the sun rather than eventually returning to the rigors and schedules associated with the school year.

If you and your spouse are going through a divorce right now it is possible that your case could be resolved this summer. That leaves you both with needing to figure out on the fly how to handle the transition not only from summer to school, but from one household to two. Today’s blog post will focus on helping recently divorced families get a plan in place for the start of a new school year.

Utilize technology to keep everyone organized. A great way for you and your ex-spouse to communicate effectively and efficiently is to work together on creating a calendar to organize your and your children’s days during the school year. The great thing about technology is that it really does leave you without any excuse as to why an event was missed or a change was not communicated.

There are various online platforms where both you and your ex-spouse can add to change events on a calendar. You don’t need to have access to one another’s email accounts, but you can have the same privileges when it comes to your shared calendar. Your attorney may suggest a specific co-parenting website to utilize a calendar on or you may choose one from your email provider. Either way, make sure that both you and your ex-spouse are aware of how to use the technology and what works best for your family as well as organization.

Nothing can get more frustrating for a divorced parent than to pick up your child with activities planned only to find out that he or she has a big assignment due at school on Monday. Worse yet- it’s possible that the assignment was sent out weeks ago but your ex-spouse and child hadn’t done anything yet to complete it until the last minute. That’s not playing fair and not doing your child any favors, either. Ultimately he or she will be the one to suffer from an assignment either not completed or done in a hurry.

With this in mind, use your online calendar to keep track of projects, assignments and other school related responsibilities. This will allow both you and your ex-spouse to plan ahead as much as possible when it comes to your schedules are concerned. Other items that can be included in your calendar are practices, club meetings, and doctor’s appointments.

There can be a point where you all inundate each other with information, thus making the calendar more of a curse than a blessing. Speak to your ex-spouse at the beginning of the school year about what is and what is not appropriate to share on the calendar. Now, as long as we’re on the subject of “speaking” ….

Take the necessary steps to always be willing to speak to and communicate with your ex-spouse. It could be that you and your ex-spouse have no problem speaking to one another and never did. Your divorce was about other issues beyond just the marital relationship itself. Or, you both could have spent the entirety of your divorce speaking through your attorneys- not even addressing the other’s presence at mediation or in court.

Regardless of where your marriage failed, or where your comfort level lies the new school year brings with it an opportunity for you to start anew and begin to include your ex-spouse on changes in schedules and updates on school related activities.

It is easy to be petty and to choose to ignore your ex-spouse if he or she asks when a soccer game is this weekend or when the parent teacher conference is scheduled for. You could even brush off their missing an event due to your own busy schedule or something like that.

However, it is your child that will suffer from their not being able to share an exciting accomplishment or event with both of their parents. He or she may no longer be your spouse, but that he or she is the other parent to your child will never change. Choose to always take the high road and make him or her aware of any schedule changes, conflicts or other minutia. It’s possible that your attitude will brush off on him or her and create a great co-parenting environment for you both.

Finally, put your child’s health and well being at the top of your list. If your child needs to stay home from school for any reason let your child’s school and your ex-spouse know immediately. Even if you know that your child is staying home and the school knows as well, it’s unlikely that your ex-spouse will know the details unless you share those with him or her.

I’ve come to learn that schools send out emails to parents if their child is not present when attendance is taken throughout the day. If your child is home sick with you then it will be no shock to receive an email from the school alerting you to the fact that your child was not at school that day. However, if you don’t tell your ex-spouse ahead of time about the absence can you imagine their reaction when he or she reads that email? If you can avoid surprises then the chances of being able to effectively co-parent during the school year increases dramatically.

Questions about handling the school year as a divorced parent? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you are going through a divorce or contemplating one please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. We pride ourselves on working with you as a client and preparing you and your family for life after your case as well.

A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is only a phone call away. We can discuss the services we provide to clients and will answer your questions in a comfortable, pressure free environment.


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