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New school year may bring challenges for divorced parents

It’s almost back to school time for thousands of Florida children. For some, this may be the first year they attend school as a child of divorce. Thankfully, with some prior planning and coordination, parents can help children cope with the changes that come with divorce during the school year.

It’s important that parents have an open line of communication. This is important in terms of coordinating calendars so that children can attend important events. It is also important that parents agree to be friendly at all school events, including teacher conferences. In terms of the teacher, it can be helpful to meet the teacher and explain the family circumstances. Sometimes children may act out when their parents are divorcing, so it is important for the teacher to be aware of the circumstances.

Routine is also very important, especially around the school year. Write out an agreed-upon routine and share it with your child. Consistency is key.

There will be a lot of communication from the school during the year and it is important that parents set up duplicate notifications. In that way, both parents will be aware of various expenses, school supplies that may be needed and potential fieldtrips.

Finally, and likely the most challenging, are the expenses. The school year often brings a lot of expenses. Although the custodial parent often pays for school supplies and clothes, both parents may choose to split the bills. Discussing these costs up front is important.

Challenges may present themselves, but with a little planning and open communication, these challenges can be eased.

Source: Seaside Courier, “Commentary: Back to school tips for divorced parents,” July 30, 2014

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