The start of a new school year often brings challenges for divorced or separated New Jersey parents. A new school year almost always means some type of change, but there are things you can do to get through these transitions smoothly.
Sports and extracurricular activities
As children get older, they are likely to become involved in sports or other extracurricular activities. This may require a change in your custody schedule.
For example, you may have a custody schedule stating that one of you gets custody from “after school” until a certain time. The “after school” time may vary, depending on after-school activities, so you may need to get creative with your custody schedule to ensure the parent getting custody does not lose any time.
Homework and projects
Your child may face extra challenges completing homework or school projects while living in two different homes. Communication and flexibility between your co-parent and you are very important.
Although you are likely to have different routines between both households, try to stick to the routines at each house. You may prefer that your child do homework before dinner, while your co-parent allows homework to wait until after dinner.
Rather than forcing one of you into a routine that does not work for you, follow your own routines. Stress the importance of following each routine to your child so they feel a sense of stability and predictability in each household.
Field trips and forms
Have a communication plan in place with your co-parent for handling things such as field trips. Your child will probably have forms that need to be signed by both parents, so develop a system of communication that allows both of you to keep up with what’s going on and sign any necessary forms.
It is inevitable that you will have to see your co-parent at some of these events. While you do not have to be together, be polite and respectful when you do run into them.
You may have to attend some events, like a parent-teacher conference, together. Put aside negative feelings toward your co-parent and remember that you are there for your child and their best interest.
Sometimes the challenges of a new school year may require more substantial changes to a custody schedule. A custody attorney can examine your situation and discuss potential options.