If you are one of many Minnesota parents who filed for divorce this summer, you and your kids will be traversing new territory as you navigate your first post-divorce school year. While you might not initially think a divorce would have a significant effect on your children’s school life, you might be surprised at how many child custody issues are relevant to their daily school experience. For example, which one of you (you or your ex) will attend parent/teacher conferences?
Perhaps you will agree to attend such meetings together. If one of you has requested sole legal custody, it might be best if only that parent attends the conferences. The good news is that you can craft a child custody agreement that meets your family’s unique needs to enable your kids to cope with your divorce as best they can and to avoid child custody disputes during the back-to-school season.
Does your child custody agreement include a sick child plan?
It’s not uncommon for a school to send kids home from school early if they are not feeling well during the school day. If you have recently divorced, you and your ex will want to discuss this issue. Can one of you leave work to be home with a sick child? If not, you will want to establish a back-up plan for childcare in unexpected situations like when a child has fallen ill or suffered an injury at school.
Don’t let scheduling conflicts cause co-parenting disputes
In addition to having a sick child, there are numerous everyday scheduling issues to address as you and your family move on in life after a divorce. For instance, do your children participate in after-school activities? Do they ride a bus to school? Are there regular dental or physical checkups on the calendar this year? What about special events like a school play or band concert?
A solid child custody plan can include details about scheduling. Try to get as much in writing as you can, and print out schedules (or use apps on your cell phones) to keep straight all dates, times and which parent is responsible for what. If you have a court order in place, it might come into play regarding your child’s school schedule as well.
What to do if child custody problems arise during the back-to-school season
You can have a child custody order in place, but if your ex disregards it, problems can arise. For example, if your ex has agreed to drive your kids to sports practices and keeps not showing up, it can cause your kids a lot of stress and can spark legal problems between the two of you. This is why you should always have a support plan in place, in case a child custody issue arises during the school year that you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own.