Now that school is back in session and your separation or divorce is either finalized or close to being finalized, here are some tips to make the transition for you and your child more successful.
Review the Schedule
Regardless of your custody and visitation schedule, take some time to review it with your children and your children's other parent. Will the children have two different bus routes? Will they walk home from school? If so, to which house? Will the schedule alternate between one parent picking them up on certain days and, on other days, the children taking the bus? Children can adjust to almost any schedule that is routine, but it will take some getting used to. Talking with your child ahead of time can help allay fears and lead to a more successful execution of after school custody.
Consider the age of the child when determining how to communicate the schedule. Color-coded calendars may work for younger children. For older children, consider using an app such as Cozi, accessible to both parents and children, for easy consultation.
Discuss the Situation with Your Child's Teacher
A full 94 percent of teachers believe knowing about a parents' divorce is essential to providing the best classroom care. Divorce can lead to both behavior problems and difficulty performing academically. By knowing about the situation at home, teachers say they are better equipped to help the child as they transition to a new set of circumstances.
Make a Plan for Unplanned Expenses
Schools are assessing fees with more frequency. From athletic fees for those who want to participate in sports, to art fees, field trip costs, book fairs, and instrument rentals, it seems children regularly need money for basic school activities. Take some time, before the fees start rolling in, to consider how you will handle these fees. Particularly if one parent has the children more often during the school week, there may be an unequal distribution of fee responsibility if there is no plan.
Of course, if both parents agree one parent will pick up the fees, this will work fine. If, on the other hand, the parents feel sharing the fees is more fair to both parties, making a plan ahead of time is a good idea.
Some parents find creating an expense record for fees can work for their family. Each parent creates documentation for expenses paid, and at certain intervals, the parents compare costs. Where the costs are unequal, the parent that paid less for the period compensates the parent that paid more. Other parents create a joint account, where each parent deposits a predetermined amount each month, and expenses come out of the joint account.
There is no “right way” to handle expenses, but by planning ahead and creating a system that works for them, parents can avoid unnecessary conflict.
If you are considering divorce, contact the lawyers at Frost & Kavanaugh. We offer comprehensive family law services. Let us put our experience to work for you and your family.