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Back to School Tips for Divorcing Parents

As the school year begins again, co-parenting issues often come to a boiling point.  Here are some tips to try and co-parent in a more effective and efficient manner in the days ahead. Otherwise, you and your ex will be in and out of court asking the court to order solutions which cause your child will suffer feeling the stress from disagreeing parents. The goal is making school go as smoothly as possible for your child.

  1. Use a shared calendar. It can be a google calendar, through Our Family Wizardor any other calendar that works for you. Through the shared calendar you can share information about extracurricular activities and school project deadlines. If you do not have the same weekdays each week you can mark when sneakers are needed for gym class and what day their library book needs to be returned.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the electronic communication options with the school. Most school districts around here have online portals with your child’s information. Try to get two separate logins. If only one login is allowed, share the password with the other parent so you both can receive the information directly. It is better to have equal access than to be responsible for communicating the information directly. This way each parent is responsible for getting their own information and cannot accuse you of withholding information.
  3. Let the teacher know both parents’ email addresses. Ask them to email both of you when sending out announcements or emails about any concerns they have about your child. Copy the other parent on your communications back to the teacher.
  4. Prepare your child’s teacher. Before the first day of school, and to minimize confusion and uncomfortable remarks, inform your child’s teachers of their family situation. Give them an overview of the child’s routines—who’ll be dropping them off and picking them up on which days, and where they’ll be staying each night. Giving teachers this information up front not only provides them with some context for any emotional issues that may come up, but it also allows them to plan ahead. Perhaps they’ll proceed with more sensitivity when it comes to those “My Family” projects that can sometimes be painful for kids of divorce.
  5. Let the other parent know when your child is home sick and whether any make-up work needs to be coordinated.
  6. Try to attend parent-teacher conferences together. While sometimes this is not possible because the parents cannot get along well enough to be in the same room and the conference will not be productive, if you can, attend the conference together so that both parents can be on the same page and can hear the teacher’s response to each of the parent’s concerns.
  7. Discuss school projects and who is going to take the lead on what part of the project. Lack of coordination puts stress on the child (and each parent’s household). The child suffers the most in this situation.
  8. Be proactive. If you see a slip in grades or any other changes in your child that you think may be associated with the situation at home, talk to the school guidance counselor and consider counseling for the child and/or co-parenting counseling for the parents.
  9. Take your past issues out of equation. This is not about you, it is about your child and their successful school year.

Need help with your custody and placement issues?  Contact Petit & Dommershausen today 920-739-9900! With three convenient locations in Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay we serve all of Northeast Wisconsin including Outagamie, Winnebago, Waupaca, Calumet, Brown, Oconto, Marinette and Fond du Lac counties.