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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

Preparing the kids for school post-divorce

Summer break has flown by, and soon the kids will be back-to-school, if they haven't started already. If you and your spouse recently got a divorce, you may be concerned about how the divorce will affect your children, particularly when it comes to their schooling. With the right preparation, you and your ex can ensure that your kids have a successful school year and continue to maintain positive relationships with both parents post-divorce.

Experts suggest that newly divorced parents and their children should discuss and agree on goals for the upcoming school year. While each parent will have some freedom to run things how they want to when the child is in their care, it is important that parents try to agree on schoolwork expectations and homework. However, the discussion should not solely relate to coursework and grades. Parents should also be concerned with their children's participation in extra-curricular activities, their ability to make and maintain healthy friendships, and for older kids, their work experience. While it may be difficult for you to get along with your spouse, it is important that both parents are on the same page to simplify things for the children.

Another common issue for newly divorced parents has to do with finances. If your divorce is finalized, your settlement agreement likely addresses the expenses all parents expect to pay (e.g. food, clothing, housing, basic school supplies). The reality is that there will be many unexpected expenses that pop-up over the year. Your child may start playing soccer or need a tutor to help with math, and parents will need to be prepared for these costs. Some parents may choose to split these costs in half, while others may decide to split costs based on each parent's income. Children may also be able to contribute to the expenses with their own money. Parents will need to communicate to prevent overspending and make sure all expenses are covered.

Once the goals and finances are discussed, the family will have to come up with a routine that works with everyone's schedules. A shared family calendar can help divorced parents and kids keep track of where they need to be and where other family members are at different times of the day. By keeping organized and continuing to communicate with your ex and your children, you and your family will be on the right track to a successful school year after your divorce. When simply discussing these matters proves unfruitful, then it may be time to discuss the matter with a family law attorney who can help draft an agreement that puts everyone's mind at ease.

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