7 Co-Parenting Tips That Can Prevent Back-to-School Headaches
The start of a new school year can magnify the worries, conflicts, and financial stresses that many divorced or separated parents experience when trying to co-parent.
If you’ve gone through this in the past or this is your first time and you are anxious about the coming fall, there are ways to deal with the potential problems. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of seven back-to-school co-parenting tips that you can follow to minimize stress and create a positive environment for both you and your child this year.
For Effective Co-Parenting, the Two C’s Are Key
A smooth transition into the school year requires two things from you and the other parent: coordination and cooperation. To get there, consider the following tips and try to incorporate them into your co-parenting strategy.
- Strive for structure and consistency. Conflicts tend to arise when one or both parents start “winging it” in terms of the co-parenting schedule. A clear, pre-planned structure is the best way to avoid these problems. Make sure your children know where they’ll be staying every night, who will be dropping them off at school, and who will be picking them up. Once you have a schedule in place, try and stick to it with as little variation as possible.
- Use technology to get everyone on the same page. Cloud-based calendar software can eliminate the misunderstandings and human errors that inevitably crop up when everyone keeps their own written copy of the schedule on their own personal calendar. Download one of the many apps available to help with co-parenting schedules and share it with the other parent. Then, use it to keep track of school events and holidays, extracurricular activities, appointments, and anything else that you both need to plan around.
- Make sure you get all the information you need from the school. Your child’s school needs to understand your co-parenting situation, so make sure that they have both parents’ contact information and ask that they send each parent copies of any school materials like report cards, lesson plans, and handouts. This will keep both parents in the loop about what’s going on at school and help you communicate effectively to address any issues that arise.
- Sit down each night to help your child with schoolwork and projects. Nothing shows your child that you care about their education like putting in the time to learn about what they’re working on at school and helping them through challenges. Let the other parent know you expect this from them as well, and coordinate with them to make sure you both know about important due dates and requirements for any big assignments or projects.
- Attend important school events with the other parent. Sometimes you may not want to see the other parent, and that’s understandable. Do your best, though, to put these feelings aside for important events like parent-teacher conferences or performances and school functions that involve your child. Making this effort shows your child that you care about them first and foremost, and it also keeps you from having to relay important details to the other parent — or receive them secondhand yourself. If you sense that potential problems are coming while attending one of these events, be the “bigger” person and walk away. Do not engage the other parent.
- Share the shopping duties. Back-to-school season generally brings on a lot of expenditures for parents — new clothes, school supplies, computers and tablets, and more — and neither parent should have to handle these costs on their own. Coordinate with the other parent to decide who will be responsible for buying what so you can avoid duplicate items and make sure your child has everything they need. It’s almost inevitable that there will be disagreements over which clothes to buy or which piece of technology offers the best value, so prepare for this and try to find common ground with the other parent wherever you can. You can also check with your child’s school about third party services available to teachers which allow the teacher to pick out the supplies for the classroom and order them ahead of time as a package.
- Don’t raise child support issues around the kids. If child support is a contentious issue in your relationship with the other parent, it’s important to avoid bringing this up around your children. Talking badly about the other parent in front of your kids could come back to haunt you later.
Of course, co-parenting is a two-way street, and there’s only so much you can do if the other parent won’t behave reasonably. If you believe the current co-parenting circumstances aren’t serving your child’s best interests and you can’t find a compromise that works for your family, it might be time to contact an experienced family law attorney who can give you practical advice and inform you about your rights and legal options.
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Call Myers Law Firm for Help with Child Custody and Co-Parenting Issues in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County
If you’re feeling stressed over co-parenting issues and you’re struggling to reach compromises with the other parent, call the experienced family law attorneys at the Myers Law Firm. While we excel at respectful negotiation and will work to find common ground with your former spouse or partner, we’re always ready to stand up in court and fight for your rights with an aggressive approach if that’s what it takes to serve your child’s best interests.
Attorneys Lee and Matt Myers of the Myers Law Firm have experience handling all the major family law issues that surround the end of a marriage, including alimony, child custody, child support, property division, and divorce. We’re here if you need help. To get in touch with us, call our offices at 888-376-2889 or fill out the short contact form on our website.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.