School is almost back in session and that means that it is almost time to get into the routine of a new academic year. If you are a divorced parent, a new school year can be especially challenging because it can demand changes to your child custody arrangement, disputes about the costs associated with school and extracurricular activities, and the need for every member of the family to make adjustments to his or her schedule.
To make the transition from summer to school year easier for your children and yourself, work out the following with your former partner before the school year begins.
How to Handle School-Related Expenses
If you have a child support agreement in place, this money is supposed to cover school supplies and other academic expenses, such as private school tuition and extracurricular costs. Even if you do have a child support agreement in place, speak with your former partner about any new expenses you anticipate to determine which parent will pay for them.
Academic and Social Expectations for Your Child
Determine which parent will speak with your child's teachers about his or her academic progress and how the other will be notified of these meetings. Also discuss an action plan for your child if he or she has difficulty with his or her schoolwork, such as hiring a tutor or considering remedial courses.
It is important that you and your former spouse are on the same page with regard to your child's social life during the school year. If you expect your child to finish his or her homework before socializing after school, talk about this with your former partner. By having consistent rules for your child in both households, you can avoid conflict and resentment.
Changes to Your Child's Schedule
If your child is starting at a new school, he or she might have a new schedule. This
might make it necessary to modify your custody agreement. Along with a new school schedule could come other demands on his or her time, such as new extracurricular activities.
Your child might be at an age where he or she can get a part-time job or a driver's license. He or she might also be starting to think about college or actively visiting college campuses and applying to schools. Discuss these age-related milestones with your former partner to determine your plan for them, such as limits on the number of hours your child may work, whether either parent will purchase a car for him or her, and how college visits and applications will be scheduled and handled.
Work with an Experienced La Crosse Family Lawyer
When the new school year starts, be prepared for the changes and challenges you and your children will face by having a plan for each of them and open communication with your former partner. Co-parenting can have its challenges, but if you can communicate effectively with your former spouse, you can overcome these challenges and support your child as he or she matures and moves through each stage. To learn more about effective co-parenting strategies and how to handle legal issues that arise, work with a member of our team of family lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. Contact our firm today to set up your initial legal consultation.