If you are a parent of a school age child, then he or she is either excited to return to school in a few short weeks or bummed that the summer has ended. Whatever is the case for you, you can bet a new school year will bring about plenty of changes to your child’s schedule – changes you should probably consider now, especially if you’re a divorced parent.
When a marriage ends, a child custody agreement is made. But visitation and custody arrangements made for the summer months don’t always work during the school year. Changes in a child’s in-school and out-of-school schedules can cause problems for co-parents, especially if they don’t take the time to review and revise a custody arrangement before school starts.
Here are three simple considerations you should keep in mind while you’re preparing your child for school:
Your child’s after-school schedule. From soccer practice to after school activities, most school age children have a variety of things they do after school that can interfere with a carefully laid custody arrangement.
Considering your child’s after-school schedule can help you and your ex-spouse make other arrangements that not only support the existing parenting time schedule but take into account the best interests of the child.
Pickup times from school, activities or daycare. During the summer, some divorced parents are able to be more flexible with their pick up times from places like day care centers. Unfortunately, this can change during the school year, when school times are more rigid, which can conflict with equally rigid work schedules.
By remaining flexible and maintaining open communication with your ex, you may be able to work past these scheduling difficulties.
Your child’s age and new preferences. Children don’t stay little forever. They grow and mature both physically and mentally. Over time, they start to develop their own interests, meaning there may come a time when they voice their own opinion about the current state of the parenting schedule now and then.
When this happens, take the time to listen to your child and consider their wants and desires. In the end, you may discover that your child’s desire to spend more time with the other parent during the school year actually clashes less with your work schedule, making it easier to hold true to the intent of your parenting schedule, which is to do what’s best for the child.