By Christine C. Fitzgerald
Summer always seems to go by quicker than a flash – or quicker than Allyson Felix can run! Before we know it Labor Day will be here and children will be returning to school. After more than a year of virtual learning and/or hybrid in-school and virtual learning, parents are surely rejoicing for a return to full-time in-school learning!
That is not to suggest that back-to-school doesn’t come with stress for parents, especially parents in co-parenting situations. Back-to-School also means new clothes, new shoes, soccer registrations, after-school activities, volunteering for special events, finishing summer reading and book reports, and new school supplies – which was always my favorite!
What can seem daunting to any parent can be especially stressful in a co-parenting situation! Instead of waiting until the Friday before school starts, be proactive and use these tips to get through those back-to-school stresses:
- Review your agreement or order to determine what modifications to the schedule are necessary and how you are contributing to the costs involved with after-school care, extracurricular activities, tutoring, and educational supplies. If your agreement or order doesn’t address an issue that is relevant, consult with your attorney about what modifications should happen.
- Talk to your co-parent now, rather than in a couple of weeks. Advise them of any school-related issues or news, such as teacher placements, school supplies that are needed, and any issues you think your child might encounter in the upcoming year. If you and your co-parent cannot have a productive and civil discussion, email them to start the dialogue.
- Make sure your co-parent has any necessary information needed. For example, if your child needs to finish their summer reading, ensure that the child has the books they need to read and give your co-parent a heads up.
- Confer with your co-parent about what “to-dos” need to be done so that your co-parent can participate in the fun tasks such as school supply shopping as well as the important tasks like registering for the school portal. Make a list of what supplies and clothing you intend to purchase for your children and what your co-parent should provide. Although the Child Support Guidelines provide that the parent that receives child support is generally responsible for clothing, shoes, and school supplies, your co-parent may want to provide some special items for the upcoming school year.
- Create a shared parenting calendar that includes parenting time and any extracurricular activities, after-school care, and modifications to the schedule so that you and your co-parent each have the information right at your fingertips.
A successful start to this school year will surely bring some normalcy to your children’s lives that they have been missing in the last two school years. If you need help solving any back-to-school or coparenting issues, call us at Seiden Family Law, LLC. We are here to help! Don’t forget to enjoy the last long days of summer!