Going back to school is difficult enough for Pennsylvania children, add to it the uncertainty that comes with divorce and it should come as no surprise that this can be an overwhelming time. Already children are struggling with new classes, teachers, schedules, friends, activities and routines and, if parents are not getting along, this can be more upsetting for children. Divorced parents should use the beginning of the school year to review their parenting plans and communication strategies to ensure that going back to school is as smooth as possible for children.
Schools send out a calendar with important dates and holidays at the beginning of the school year. Similarly, after school programs such as sports and musical concerts also send out their schedules soon after school begins. Parents should go through these papers and add these to a shared calendar while also accommodating them in their parenting plan. This way, parents can figure out transportation, costs and locations for each major event for the whole year early on.
Just when parents think they are done with paperwork after finalizing their divorce, they are suddenly inundated with forms from school. Activities registration and updating medical and personal information must be done in a timely manner and often requires cooperation between both parents. The longer parents delay submitting these forms, the more children end up getting stressed due to uncertainty. Schools should also be alerted of custody decisions and restrictions on release of information, so they can update their information.
While it is not possible to smooth out all the wrinkles in back-to-school routines, it is possible for parents to reduce the challenges that come with changing family situations. Having a viable and enforceable parenting plan is the first step to ensuring harmony during child custody discussions, and an experienced attorney can help divorcing parents create one.