Back-to-school time can be both fun and stressful for kids. It’s a great time to reconnect with friends and to compare any summer growth spurts. The same can be said for the parents’ viewpoint, blending the excitement of seeing their child grow up with the stress of buying school supplies and coordinating schedules. Blend into these emotions the complications which come with post-divorce parenting, and back-to-school can be overwhelming.
The experts at Wall Legal Solutions have many years of experience with divorce, and understand that there are many different ways parents can manage these stressors. Here are a few suggestions on how to handle back-to-school as a divorced parent.
Keep It About The Kids
Despite any friction between the two of you, the children are the important thing to keep in mind. As best as you can, put aside any differences for the sake of making the school year as positive as possible. If you’re newly divorced, chances are your child (or children) will face tough questions from their friends about the divorce. Showing a united and positive position early in the school year will help make answering these questions much easier.
Since financial arguments remain the number one reason for divorce, chances are good that talking about money post-divorce will continue to be a challenge. Establishing a clean and clear plan to share the cost of school supplies before the year starts can minimize the friction of the subject. Some examples can include one parent buying the shoes and backpacks while the other purchases the list given by the teacher (e.g. calculators, pens, paper, etc.). This also applies to new clothes, often with both parents buying the same number of outfits.
The First Day
Take a moment to think back to your first day of school. It doesn’t matter the grade; whichever memory pops to mind first is fine. If you’re like most of us, you probably remember a mix of emotions bordering somewhere between excitement and dread. Chances are your kids are going through the same thing and need the support of both their parents. To make this experience less overwhelming for them, meet up with your ex near the school beforehand and walk your child to school together. This is a great way to keep things civil while giving your child the support he or she needs.
With the first day behind you, the next challenge is continuing positive communication throughout the school year. Divorced couples often live in separate cities or states, making parent / teacher conferences challenging. If the two of you are unable to attend these meetings together, the parent who is able to go should take clear notes and attempt to conference the other in by phone or video. These small gestures will go a long way toward maintaining a healthy post-divorce relationship while showing your child a united front when it comes to education.
If you have questions about parenting after divorce, or any general questions related to divorce, please contact our office at 801-274-3100 to speak with an attorney. You can also complete the short contact form on this page if that is more convenient for you. Wall Legal Solutions has been providing sound legal advice to greater Salt Lake City since 1973. Our attorneys are compassionate when it comes to family legal matters and are well versed in the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved.