Going Back To School After Divorce
August 27, 2019
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain
By Carlye Goldstein
Going back to school can be exciting but also anxiety inducing for any child, and going back to school after divorce can amplify those feelings. It’s important to not only have an idea or plan in place with how you’d like to approach the difficulties that can arise when a child splits their time between two homes but also keep your child’s teachers, counselors and coaches apprised of the new change.
Depending on the parenting time schedule in place, a child may be going back and forth between their parent’s homes multiple times per week. Divorced parents should attempt to sit down and have a conversation about what supplies the child will need to have at both homes and what supplies or items will need to travel with the child. It will be unavoidable that the child will need to carry certain items between homes, especially when they have projects or sports activities.
With that being said, any way the parents can decrease this burden on their child should be discussed and effectuated. For example, if your child participates in a sports activity that requires a lot of equipment, like baseball or softball, and they will need those items on a day that they will be waking up in one home but sleeping in another, it would beneficial if the parents could decide how to exchange said equipment opposed to the child dragging it with them to school.
If you are not in a position to have a meaningful conversation with the other parent, it is incumbent on you to speak with the child, if old enough, to determine what they are comfortable with and how best to achieve those goals. Set up a calendar in the home that outlines important school dates, extra-curricular activities and other miscellaneous events so that the child feels they are aware of their schedule and always knows what they will need to have with them on any given day.
It is equally important to speak with your child’s teachers, counselors and coaches at the beginning of the school year or the start of new activity to give them insight on the situation and the challenges that may arise. The more information the other adults in your child’s life have, the better suited they are to address any situations or concerns that come about. You will want to request two copies of all report cards, notices, etc. so that neither parent will be out of the loop. You never want your child to feel conflicted about how to engage in an activity at school or any other program that focuses on family, when their idea of family is in flux. This especially comes into play for younger children who usually have school projects that require they bring in photographs of their family. Have a discussion with your child about what type of photograph they want to use, one that shows everyone together prior to the divorce or two photographs, one with each parent and the child.
Going back to school after divorce does not need to be any more complicated than in previous years, but communication with your child, your ex-spouse and the other adults in your child’s life can make the transition considerably easier for everyone.
Contact our New Jersey divorce lawyers and we can help you resolve your case efficiently.