When you filed for divorce in a Virginia court you knew your decision would have a significant impact on your children’s lives. Divorce is an adult issue that affects kids. To help your children cope so they can move on in life in the least stressful way possible, it’s best if you and your ex agree to work together as a team concerning child custody issues.
When the back-to-school season hits, it can be a particularly stressful time, even for families with both parents living under the same roof. If divorce took place during summer break, it’s essential that you and your ex work out clear terms of agreement regarding all the issues that may arise during an average school year.
Who needs to know about your child custody plan?
It’s understandable that you’d want to the details of your divorce to remain private. However, when your children return to school, other people may pick them up or drop them off for you occasionally. You and your ex need to agree on who that is allowed to be. The designated parties, as well as your children’s teachers or coaches, should be aware of any specific rules you are putting into practice regarding who may or may not give your children rides to or from school, sports or other activities.
Co-parent interaction is a necessity
When you signed divorce papers, you perhaps simply wanted to leave the past behind and start your new lifestyle. While that means not having a romantic relationship with your ex anymore, it doesn’t mean you never have to correspond with him or her. As parents of the same children, you will always share a connection and will have to interact with each other.
To keep child custody stress as low as possible, it’s helpful to agree to communicate on a regular basis regarding your children’s lives. Maybe you can agree to a weekly phone call or in-person meeting. If weekly sounds too often for the two of you, you can agree to bi-weekly meetings or whatever works best in your particular case. This can be a time to discuss all child-related issues, including school, health, social time and more.
Child custody calendars and schedules are helpful tools
You and your ex can talk about your kids every week, but if you don’t even remember what you agree to, it’s a lost cause. Calendars and schedules come in handy to help keep child custody stress to a minimum. Customize your calendar with contact names and numbers, dates of special events, which parent will attend which field trip, and more.
You and your ex should have copies of your calendar hanging in your households. Maybe giving each of your children a copy of the agreed upon calendar is a good idea as well.
Where to seek support if a problem arises
Your first back-to-school season after divorce is likely going to include some logistic challenges. Perhaps an issue will arise that you didn’t cover in your calendar or discuss in your co-parent meetings. Especially if the issue is a legal problem, it’s critical that you know where to seek support when needed.
Your children’s teachers, coaches and school counselors have no doubt helped other families navigate the back-to-school season after divorce, and they can be on hand to assist you and your children too.