If you’re one of many Pennsylvania parents who filed for divorce this past summer, you and your children have no doubt been busy establishing new routines and adapting to your new lifestyle. Hopefully, you and your ex were able to achieve a fair settlement without becoming entangled in a lengthy court battle, although that is sometimes impossible.
As parents, your divorce proceedings likely included child custody issues as a central focus. Now that summer time is winding down, your kids are probably getting ready to go back to school or to begin a new homeschooling year at home. Either way, as a newly divorced parent, certain issues can arise that can spark stress or legal problems between you and your co-parent.
Thinking and planning ahead helps avoid child custody, back-to-school stress
You can imagine the frustration a parent might feel after spending hundreds of dollars on clothing and school supplies only to learn that the other parent recently purchased the same items. By discussing school supplies and other financial needs pertaining to a new school year ahead of time, you can avoid this type of stress.
You can customize your child custody plan and co-parenting agreement to incorporate back-to-school issues. In fact, you can write out terms of agreement for who will purchase supplies and clothing, which parent will attend school functions, such as meet-the-teacher night or a sporting event, and other matters. If you and your ex get along well, you might decide to have both parents attend events simultaneously so that your kids get to enjoy being together as a family.
Legal custody, homework and correspondence with school officials
While physical custody refers to where your children live after you finalize your divorce, legal custody has to do with the authority to make decisions on their behalf. If you and your ex share legal custody, it basically means you must consult each other and agree before making decisions regarding education, health care or other important matters for your kids.
Minor issues, such as a teacher sending home a note or requiring that a specific homework assignment be signed by a parent before turning it in can cause co-parenting complications if you don’t outline a clear plan for the school year. To avoid stress, you can delegate the task of signing school papers to one parent only. This way, your kids never have to feel confused about which parent to give a paper to or at which house they might have left a note from a teacher.
If you hit a bump in the back-to-school road
In a perfect world, you could finalize a divorce and never encounter a single problem regarding your child custody plan or co-parenting agreement. In reality, however, parents, whether married or divorced, often disagree on issues concerning their children.
If a specific issue sparks a legal problem between you and your ex regarding back-to-school topics or any other matter, you should never hesitate to reach out for additional support. The sooner you resolve such issues, the less stressful your co-parenting relationship might be.