The start of the school year generally inspires a host of changes to a family’s schedule when minor children are part of the household. It can inspire changes across two households when a child’s parents are no longer together. As a result of all the changes that occur during back-to-school season, it’s important for co-parents to get on the same page both for their benefit and for their child’s benefit.
Most of the time, parenting plans address certain basics related to the school year that co-parents can use as a framework for their shift from summer to fall. For example, a parenting plan may lay out when a child resides at each house and who is responsible for after-school transportation. However, it remains important to be proactive about addressing any issues that aren’t in a family’s co-parenting plan to minimize the likelihood of stress, tension and even conflict later on.
Topics of interest
Because your child is unique and your family situation is unique, if you need to get on the same page with your co-parent, you’ll need to construct your own list of concerns that could impact your child’s experience as the year evolves. A few common issues that co-parents may need to negotiate include:
- Extracurriculars: Which ones will their children participate in, who will pay for them, how will their child get to and from practices and meets/performances, etc.
- School supplies: Who will buy them, who will restock them, how will they be kept track of between households?
- Virtual visitation: Does the schedule for communicating with each parent need to change in any way due to the unique schedule for this particular school year?
By addressing issues of concern in advance, co-parents can better ensure that stresses and tensions are minimized as the school year begins and evolves over time.