Back to School Tips for Co-Parenting

DuPage County Child Custody Attorneys

With your children’s summer camps, day cares, and summer activities coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about the school year. Co-parenting, at any time of year, is difficult. Making arrangements for joint custody when children go back to school, however, can be particularly stressful on all parties involved. Taking the time to make a plan, explore your options, and speak with your ex-spouse before the school year gets underway is an easy approach to making the transition from summer to school easier for the whole family.

Back to School Tips

If you are already divorced and have a joint custody arrangement with your ex-spouse, the beginning of the school year may be a good time to revisit it. Joint custody arrangements vary depending on the circumstances of the parties involved, the needs of the children and parents, the geographical proximity of the biological parents, and other factors. Most arrangements allocate certain days for certain parents to spend time with their children, whether the schedule rotate on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis. You may have schedules determining who picks up the children from school for soccer practice, or who will attend violin on Saturdays. Regardless, it is important to map out your children’s schedule and talk it over with your ex-spouse before the school year gets underway.

There are many methods co-parents can employ to ensure the transition into the new school year is a smooth one. First, technology makes it easy to share schedules and to communicate any emergency changes to your custody arrangement. Though changes are not ideal, having the ability to have a clear grasp on your child’s schedule will help prevent a child from being stranded after track practice one day.

Meeting teachers, coaches, or mentors may also help open the lines of communication not only between you and these individuals, but between the child and those they interact with daily. If the professionals your child interacts with regularly are apprised of your custody arrangement, there will be no confusion about parent pick-ups, arrangements for sending notices home, where homework should be directed, and attendance. Taking the time to meet these individuals, perhaps together with your ex-spouse, can drastically improve the future of the school year for all involved parties.

Additionally, it is important to consider school holidays when planning out the schedule for the new school year. Artfully drafted divorce settlements and custody arrangements will speak directly toward this issue, allocating certain holidays for certain parents, or a pattern schedule that will change year-to-year. However, most arrangements fail to take into consideration that one Monday holiday or random Friday off for state in-service day. Making sure you have made arrangements for your child’s whereabouts on these days is important so as not to disrupt you or your ex-spouse’s work schedules or leave the child in a situation where they have nowhere to go. Planning in advance can also help allocate the holidays fairly between parents, allowing for compromise and discussion at the time of scheduling. In many circumstances, be sure to remember that your child may have an opinion about the schedule too.

Changing Illinois Custody Arrangements

Regardless of the situation, abiding by any pre-existing court-ordered arrangement is key in making sure things stay on track for you and your ex-spouse. In order to enforce changes or advocate for changes to a custody arrangement, the matter must be heard before the court. Though there are limited circumstances in which “official” (i.e. enforceable) arrangements can be changed, working with your ex spouse to come to an amicable resolution is always the best policy.

Wheaton Family Law Attorneys

At Abear Law Offices, we can work with post-decree modifications to advocate for changes to a pre-existing custody arrangement, or help you come up with the best solution for your unique circumstances. Our Wheaton child custody attorneys understand that your child’s best interests are always your primary focus, and will advocate for you and your parenting rights. If you have any questions about making a custody arrangement during a divorce settlement or if you wish to change a pre-existing arrangement, contact one of our five convenient greater Chicago area locations at (630) 904-3033 today.

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