As we wrap up the end of July 2022, and summer begins to wind down, parents across California are preparing to send their kids back to school. Whether they are in grade school or high school, coping with the details of which parent handles what can be overwhelming after a divorce.
At the Land Legal Group, our Los Angeles family law attorneys have a few tips for coordinating the logistics to help minimize the challenges of navigating not just the pick-ups and drop-offs, but your relationship with the other parent.
Here are a few ways to make back to school a little easier.
Review Your California Custody Agreement
Summertime usually lends itself to a more relaxed environment, especially when it comes to sharing custody with another parent. Kids typically have more options, like summer camp, vacations, and sleepovers that allow both parents to lighten up on pick-up and drop-off times.
However, once school is back in session, the structure in both homes must return.
Now is the time to outline a clear and consistent schedule, so everyone — parents and kids alike — is on the same page.
Reviewing the custody agreement will remind both parents of the specific time-sharing and visitation arrangements, and how educational decisions should be made.
Talk About the Costs Associated with the Upcoming School Year
If your kids go to a private school, both parents are probably already aware of tuition costs and have established an agreement regarding who pays what amount for their enrollment.
However, there may be more to discuss.
School supplies, books, clothing, and other education-specific needs can add up quickly. Parents should determine if one will do all the purchasing, and the other will reimburse him or her, or if they prefer to do their shares separately.
Who Oversees the First Day of School Duties?
Depending on your child’s age, the first day of school may be a big deal. Should you both go? Should one drop off and the other pick up? Consider asking your kids what they want, and what both or either parent can accomplish, so everyone feels included in the new school year from the start.
Share All Extracurricular Activity Details
Whether your kids play sports, are interested in theater, or are joining the marching band, there will be costs associated with their involvement. There will also be scheduling obligations that may interfere with each parent’s time-sharing agreement. It is better to understand all the details upfront, so there are no surprises later.
What Happens During an Emergency?
Since life has a way of getting in the way, it is important to plan for things like who will stay home with the kids if they are sick. What if the school closes for an emergency? What if one of the kids gets hurt during school hours?
Who will the school call during these emergencies? How will you communicate with the other parent during these important times? Both parents should be able to answer these questions, even if they never have to put their solutions in place.
Develop Consistency By Working Together
Usually, the first school year after a divorce is the toughest, because parents must sort through factors they forgot had to be addressed. That is why parents need to work together to develop a consistent approach to balancing school with their separate lives. Now is also the time to be flexible — with yourself, and the other parent.
Creating a plan for shared discipline, homework duties, and bedtimes is beneficial not only to the children, but to your relationship with them as parents and each other.
Contact the Land Legal Group Family Law Attorneys in Los Angeles Today
If you have questions about your custody agreement, or would like to revisit it during a modification hearing, contact our skilled divorce attorneys in Los Angeles at the Land Legal Group today at (310) 552-3500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique needs and to learn how we can help.