While some of our readers may feel that it is too early to think about going back to school, for children whose parents are divorced it is not too early to review child custody and child support arrangements for the upcoming school year, so that there is plenty of time to make modifications if necessary.
As far as child support goes, parents need to agree on who will be responsible for purchasing school supplies and other educational expenses. In addition, parents need to agree on who will pay for after-school care, if needed, and who will stay home with the child if the child is too sick to go to school. These arrangements should be made part of the divorce decree and should be reviewed before the school year begins in case one or both party’s life has significantly changed, and the current agreement needs to be modified by the court.
Parents also need to consider their child custody arrangements for the school year, and ensure they still meet their child’s needs. Parents will need to decide if they will attend school events together. Parents will also want to consider whether child custody exchanges during the week would disrupt their child’s learning. These arrangements should be addressed in the child custody order and should be reviewed before the start of the school year, as a child’s needs when they are in kindergarten are very different from the needs they will have in middle school and the needs they will have in high school.
In addition, it can help for parents to have the same rules regarding homework, to provide consistency in the child’s life. Parents should also make sure they are both set up to receive messages from the school and that their emergency contact list is still appropriate.
These are only some issues that should be reviewed before the start of the school year. Child custody arrangements during the summertime may be very different than those during the school year. In the end, any child custody decisions should be made with the best interests of the child in mind. A child’s education is very important, and parents must respect that, even if they are no longer in a relationship with one another.