Back to School Brings Challenges for Shared Custody

Beverly Hills Divorce & Custody Lawyer

For parents who share custody of minor children, the summer usually brings some much-needed flexibility on schedules as the kids are out of school and likely not as engaged with activities.  Now that August is here soon we’ll be seeing ads for “back to school” and it’s time to start reviewing a few key points to ensure that the transition from summer back to school is as smooth as it can be. 

Here are a few questions for parents with shared custody to ask in preparation for the kids going back to school in the fall.

  • Do the appropriate people have access to the kids at school?  
    Make sure the right people (including step-parents) are listed as emergency contacts and people who are authorized to pick up a child from school.  This can become a major issue in the case of an emergency at school, but also can present an awkward inconvenience for someone trying to pick up their child after school.  If you are in a situation where there are certain people you need to make sure are NOT allowed to pick them up from school, ensure that information is updated as well.
  • Are there any major changes in schedule this year?
    If children are going from Elementary School to Middle School or Junior High, the start and end times for their days can change dramatically.  If last year school was from 7-2:30 and this year it’s from 9:00-4:30 or vice versa that’s can create some waves.  Make sure you have a firm grasp on start and finish times for everyone, but especially those who are going to a new school this fall.   Even if the schedules are not changing, this is a good time to examine things that maybe didn’t work well last year.  Challenges around days off, getting to conferences, holiday breaks etc.
  • Are Both Parents Contributing Financially?
    Back-to-School can come with a pretty hefty price tag.  New clothes, equipment for sports, activity fees, school supplies, tuition and more can make a big financial impact.  Make sure both parents are contributing towards these expenses, or that your financial arrangement takes them into consideration.
  • Are Both Parents Contributing Effort and Time?
    In addition to the financial cost of supporting student, there is also a lot of effort and time required.  Helping with homework, dropping off and picking up, keeping open lines of communication about new friends or teachers should all be a shared responsibility.  
  • If Children Are Going Between Two Homes, Do Both Homes Have Everything They Need?
    Back-to-school can be a stressful time for children, especially if this is the first year they are splitting time between two homes.  Do a morning and evening run through; do your children have everything they will need to make mornings run smoothly?  Starting your day with a calm positive attitude can make a huge impact on how the rest of your day goes.  Make sure you are setting up your kids for success at school, especially if them leaving from your home is a new adjustment for them.

Questions about  how custody issues or  going Back-To-School will affect your parenting plan?  We can help.  Call our office or send an email through our contact form to get information about an initial consultation with our expert family law attorneys.