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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Divorced parents can reduce back-to-school stress

While schools in Texas and across the country make plans for reopening, you may be among the many parents who have an additional complication. If you are recently divorced or separated from your child's other parent, you may have many concerns about how the next school year will play out and how your custody arrangement will hold up.

Undoubtedly, back to school is already a stressful time, and you will want to keep as much of that stress away from your child as possible. Many parents in your situation find that being proactive can prevent some conflicts and minimize the anxiety for themselves and their children.

Make the first day special

One of the most critical things to remember is that your court-ordered custody is not optional. This means that if the first day of school falls on a day on which your child is not staying with you, you must comply with the order. Refusing to return the child to the other parent may bring consequences that can jeopardize your custody privileges. If you are struggling to get your ex to comply with custody orders, your attorney can offer some advice and guidance.

Ideally, you and your former partner can work out an arrangement where both of you can see the child off to school on the first day. If you have custody that day, you may wish to extend an invitation to the other parent. If your ex cannot be there, you can set a positive tone for the school year by taking pictures and sending them to your former partner. This generous act may make your ex more likely to return the favor as the school year progresses.

Other decisions to make together

If you and your former partner can put aside your differences and have a civil meeting of the minds before the school year starts, you may be surprised at how much you can resolve to spare your child anxiety and confusion. For example, a pre-school-year meeting may help you make decisions about the following:

  • Sharing the expenses of school supplies and other costs that may arise during the year
  • Keeping each other informed of school events, teacher conferences, class projects and other important events
  • Communicating with teachers as a team, including attending conferences together
  • Discussing your child's progress and addressing critical issues throughout the year
  • Informing your child's teachers about your family situation

With you and your ex presenting a united front, you may find that your child can focus more on what is happening in the classroom instead of worrying about the tension between the two of you.

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