Back to school is an exciting and hectic time for families. New school, new classroom, new teacher, but what if the same old situation exists with your co-parent where communication has hurdles, challenges, and yes disputes? Some families seem to do it seamlessly, by splitting the supplies list, attending orientations together, and sharing in the excitement of a new beginning. Others have more difficulty.
How can you help your children prepare to return to school with an uncooperative co-parent? First, know your parenting plan. Reading and comprehending the Parenting Plan entered in your case defines your timesharing, responsibilities, share of expense, and how the academic calendar affects your co-parenting relationship. These orders are typically routine and frequently addressed issues are set forth, and the order should provide guidance to navigate the path back to school. At times, however, nuances and inferences can lead to issues where parents can find themselves disagreeing over simple issues. Speaking with an experienced family law attorney at the law firm Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. to assist you in understanding what your rights and responsibilities are can provide invaluable guidance for the benefit of you and your children. At Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A., we have been On Your Side – At Your Side since 1957.
Second, start planning early. The academic calendar for your county is readily available on the school district website. Each year has slight changes and every county is different. It’s important to look at the upcoming calendar, school supply list, and be informed so that you can be prepared for discussions regarding your children’s enrollment.
Third, communicate freely. Discussing with your co-parent about how to make this the best year ever for your student is very important. Open communication about your child’s needs and interests is essential for your child’s happiness. Making their happiness your priority and having discussions with a cooperative tone are the first steps to successful matriculation.
Fourth, when all else fails, document everything. If you have made an earnest effort to discuss plans for your children, which has either lead to conflict or fallen on deaf ears, start documenting your conversations. Many jurisdictions prefer for families to use programs such as Ourfamilywizard.com or ‘talking parents’ to facilitate communication. Emails, texts, and receipts for the expenses that you have incurred are all things to maintain to demonstrate your efforts and actions to prepare for your shared children for school.
Fifth, and finally, whenever possible, take the high road. Parenting isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you are going to be the parent that buys the crayons. At the end of the day, remember that you are doing this for your children. Regardless of how difficult your former partner is, or how hard it may be, your child needs to be ready for a path of success. As a parent, it is your responsibility to take care of your child, with or without your co-parent, because your children’s needs are not diminished because the two adults are unable to figure out how to communicate. Being grateful for the opportunity to provide these memories of packing backpacks, buying notebooks, and getting excited for your children’s continued growth are amazing tools to get passed resentment toward a non-participating co-parent. Make the difference for your children.