Avoid child custody problems when school begins again

Are you among the many New York parents who filed for divorce this summer? If so, then you and your children may be encountering some challenges as you all do your best to adapt to a new lifestyle. In a few short weeks, your kids might be returning to school, or if you homeschool, they may be preparing to resume their lessons. Your divorce may prompt changes in your children’s daily school routines.

Such times can be highly stressful, especially if you and your ex haven’t addressed all of the potential issues in your co-parenting agreement. There are several things you can do to avoid legal problems and to help your children cope with your divorce and move on in life in a healthy, productive manner.

Keep the lines of communication open

You decided to move forward in life without your spouse, but that doesn’t mean you will not have to interact with each other as parents. Like all good parents, you want what’s best for your children, but problems may arise if what you think is best differs from what your ex thinks. One of the ways you can avoid complications when your children go back to school is to ensure you and your co-parent are on the same page regarding all the logistics and details of the upcoming school year.

The less you leave to happenstance, the better. If you stay closely connected and write out clear terms to your agreement, there is less room for confusion and dispute. Who will pick up your kids from school or sports practice? Will you keep backpacks at both households? Which parent will attend the parent/teacher conferences? Such issues may seem minor but can cause a lot of frustration and legal complications if you and your ex are not in agreement.

Don’t make kids responsible for adult issues

Kids lose stuff. It’s just the way it is. As you and your family learn to navigate a post-divorce lifestyle, complications can arise if your children keep losing papers that parents need to sign or information about important school events. Many New York parents choose to have a parent backpack that co-parents directly pass back and forth without children having to be responsible for it.

Consider having both parents attend school events

Recognizing the key role each parent holds in your children’s lives is a step in a positive direction when you’re learning to co-parent as a team. Your kids want both parents involved in their special school activities. You may want to consider attending their events at the same time. It doesn’t mean you have to sit together, only that you are willing to simultaneously attend an event so that your children have both parents present.

If you don’t think that’s a good idea because your relationship with your ex is contentious, it may be best to write out a calendar to designate which parent will attend which event.

What if problems arise?

It’s not uncommon to have scheduling problems or child/parent relationship problems after divorce. Even married couples with children experience similar issues. Many times, you can resolve an issue by talking things out. If you don’t do well with in person conversations with your ex, you can correspond through text messaging or email.

If you don’t feel equipped to handle a particular issue on your own because it has to do with child custody, visitation or another important matter, you can reach out for additional support at any time. Having a strong support network in place helps you protect your parental rights and your children’s best interests.