As a new school year approaches, many Maryland divorced parents who are co-parenting their child(ren) may anticipate the necessary upcoming scheduling changes with some trepidation, especially if they are new to the dynamics of sharing parenting time with their ex-spouse. Typically, during school time, parents need to communicate more often as schedules must be revamped and coordinated, homework and school events require discussion, etc. Parents who wish for a successful transition to this new phase for everyone involved (so, all parents) can benefit from a few tips to keep communication open and stress levels down.
Written contract clarifies expectations
Firstly, co-parents may consider writing up a contract so they can clarify their expectations and determine how each will best support the child for the academic year. Parents should aim for a win-win situation that will benefit both of them and, in turn, their children. Co-parents may consider covering some or all of the following areas:
- Division of school expenses
- Transportation to and from school
- Arrangements for school holidays
- Handling of parent-teacher conferences
- Notification of school events
Mediator can help disagreeing co-parents
Co-parents are smart to also consider how homework will be handled, particularly if a noncustodial parent has visitation with his or her child mid-week. As well, parents should ensure each has access to order forms for important items such as school yearbooks and photos. In the event divorced parents are not successful at negotiations around back-to-school details, they may wish to consider mediation. A mediator can help parents who do not agree come to a workable win-win situation.
Likely, many Maryland parents find this time of year at least a little stressful, perhaps especially divorced co-parents who must find a way to coordinate different schedules and who may sometimes find communication challenging. By carefully planning and setting clear expectations before the school year begins, co-parents and their children can enjoy a successful school year ahead. For professional assistance through all stages of the divorce process, including child custody negotiations, many people consult with an experienced family law attorney.