If you’ve been through a divorce and you have children, you know that one of the most challenging aspects of the process can be helping your children deal with the practical, everyday changes that a divorce brings. Many parents report that one of the biggest struggles they face is dealing with their child’s school arrangements. From breaking the news about your split from your spouse to your child’s teacher to managing different school buses schedules for mommy’s house and daddy’s house – managing your child’s school after the divorce can be quite a test.
With the excitement of the new school year, it can be easy for this big transition in your child’s life to be overlooked by the school and their new teacher. Generally, school district forms provide a space for general custody information, but the forms tend to be limited to a second address at which the child may be dropped off or a list of people who are allowed to pick up or visit the child at school. Sometimes it seems that the roots of the problem are as basic as a lack of communication regarding students’ home lives. Some propose that the first step in the solution is as simple as updating these forms to prompt parents to give a more detailed picture of their family dynamic – Is this a new arrangement? How long have the parents been separated?
No matter how old a child is, when the family is going through a divorce a child needs extra support from the school system. If lines of communication are open and the school knows about a recent change to the child’s family living situation the school may be able to make accommodations such as handing out an extra textbook or setting up times to meet with the guidance counselor. In our experience as divorce attorneys, we’ve found once the school is aware of a change in a child’s family, the teachers, administrators and school support staff have been incredibly helpful. Although your child might sometimes feel like he or she is the only one going through this difficult divorce process, the fact of the matter is that schools are equipped to handle a variety of family situations and sometimes co-parenting issues can be solves by taking simple steps such as making sure both parents are invited to school events and receive school notices.
If you’re a parent struggling to help your children cope with a divorce, contact our office today to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced child custody attorney.