If you find yourself having recently divorced your spouse the summer time and beginning of a new school year are perhaps the most important tests that you will encounter to determine how your new family unit will handle these changes. Shuffling the children back and forth between parents for their specific periods of possession, then transitioning back into the “normalcy” of the school calendar is a lot to take on both logistically and emotionally. While some divorced families struggle with this transition, others are able to overcome these sort of difficulties and succeed in spite of them.
So what exactly separates the family that is able to cope with these changes and the one who fails to do so? More importantly- how can you best ensure that you can count your family among the latter rather than the former? The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC would like to discuss some tips and advice that we have seen be effective for past clients of ours when it comes to transitioning into your first school year as divorced parents.
When life gets busy make sure you are communicating with your ex spouse.
Extra curricular events, church, doctor appointments and family commitments all take up time during the school year. Note that I haven’t even gotten to homework and other assignments from school yet. When you and your children are being pulled in multiple directions all at once it is critical to be on the same page with your ex spouse.
This can be done through tools as simple as Google Calendar where you both can update and view appointments, information on sporting events or any other information that is important for your family. If you and your ex spouse do not currently have a relationship that would do well for collaboration in something like Google Calendar then using a co-parenting website like Our Family Wizard will allow you to send messages and updates to your ex spouse regarding changes or updates for the kids’ schedules.
The key here is to avoid being petty. It’s that same instinct that we had in high school to maybe not tell the friend that’s been annoying us lately about the party on Friday night that will want to not tell your ex spouse about information pertaining to the children. My advice would be to ignore that instinct if you have it and to always aim to be the bigger person. At this stage in the game your divorce is done and the people that are most affected by your and your ex spouse’s inability to be civil to one another are your children. From my experiences as a family law attorney I have never seen a client gain a longstanding advantage by being petty in this way. Communicating with your ex spouse will force you to overcome this obstacle.
Plan ahead for back to school supplies and homework/project deadlines
If you are the parent whose responsibility it is to pay child support to your ex spouse you may be thinking that the child support money should be used to pay for supplies before school begins. For many children you may be right about that. Office supply stores and grocery chains sell prepackaged school supplies that meet the needs of the schools in their area. However, many children (possibly your own) are involved in extra curricular activities, sports or other pursuits that require materials and supplies that go above and beyond what you can pick up at the grocery store. In this situation it is wise to find out as early as possible what your child is going to need to be prepared for the school year and to work with your ex spouse on determining how the costs are going to be allocated. This can avoid misunderstandings and resentment on both sides.
Another area to make sure that you and your ex spouse have planned ahead for is school projects, assignments and daily homework responsibilities. I have learned from representing many parents of school aged children that schools are much more “aggressive” in handing out lengthy homework assignments and school projects with short turnaround times for completion compared to when you or I were in school. The best way to manage this workload is to make sure that your ex spouse is aware of the assignment if it is handed to your child during the time that you have possession of him or her. That whole communication thing I was just discussing with you comes into play here. It is frustrating to say the least if your child were to come home to you on a Sunday night with a huge project due on Monday morning where no work has been started yet. Avoid these situations by communicating and planning with your ex spouse- even when you don’t feel like it.
The health of your child is the number one priority.
If you learn from an email that your child’s school has a case of [insert name of infectious sickness here] it is always a good move on your part to make sure that your ex spouse is aware of this too. Also, if your child needs to stay home from school during a day that you have possession of him or her because he or she is under the weather always communicate this to your ex spouse. I have had a former client receive angry text messages and phone calls from an ex spouse when she received emails from the school notifying her that the child was not present when attendance was counted. Had our client contacted his ex wife the morning before school began this misunderstanding (that almost led to a lawsuit) could have been avoided.
Questions on issues surrounding the beginning of the school year? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
If you have read through this blog post on the beginning of the school year and have questions for one of our attorneys please contact us today. A consultation is free of charge and a licensed family law attorney is available to meet with you six days a week.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.