Dealing with visitation is one thing in the summer and an entirely different thing during the school year. This is why it is no surprise that back-to-school time is also one of the busiest times for custody and visitation disputes.
Parents have a lot to think about in regards to child visitation, such as negotiating visitation around school days, schedules, homework, and extra-curricular activities and after-school programs to think about when the school year rolls around.
Keep a Consistent Schedule
You most likely have a visitation schedule already hashed out and visitation written out in your custody paperwork. Therefore, stick to that parenting agreement as much as possible when school starts.
If your ex-spouse sees your children every other weekend, do allow your children to continue with that schedule. While changes can occur, avoid making changes on a week-to-week basis or having a temporary week-to-week schedule.
Consistency is key for children, especially when they are handling the stress of going back to school. If you have not planned a schedule for the school year, sit down with your child’s parent and create one immediately. Then, stick to it for the year.
Stay in Touch
Each parent should keep the other parent informed. If a change does arise, parents need to communicate and notify the other parent immediately to avoid any conflicts. Consider creating a shared online calendar to keep everyone in the loop.
These calendars can list everything from your child’s homework (including upcoming school projects) to sports schedules to school schedules. This allows each parent to access it at his or her own convenience, stay informed, and avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings later.
Create a System for Paying and Tracking School Expenses
While one party is most likely paying child support, child support does not cover those extra expenses associated with going back to school. Create a system with your ex for tracking and paying for those school expenses.
Some expenses to remember include:
- School field trips
- Book fairs
- School supplies and clothing
- Spending money
- Money for school-related projects (i.e. science fair, sports uniforms and equipment, etc.)
- Lunch money
Try to Be Flexible
Even though you have a visitation schedule listed in your parenting agreement, things happen when a new school year comes around. From sports to your child wanting to stay home for the weekend to spend time with friends, both parents need to be flexible and ready for change.
Give the other parent as much notice as possible when unexpected changes do occur, and do your best to limit unexpected changes by planning for those unexpected events—and create a substituted visitation schedule if for some reason a parent has to miss out on scheduled visitation due to such unforeseen events.
Plan a Few Months in Advance
Once you have your child’s academic calendar, know the season’s sports schedule, and so on, sit down and plan out visitation with your ex or at least discuss any changes that may occur as soon as you both are able.
By planning ahead, you won’t have to worry about any visitation struggles. Also, see what events you and your ex are comfortable attending with each other so that both of you can feel involved in your child’s academic and extra-curricular life.
Need More Advice on How to Handle Back to School?
Back-to-school time is tricky, especially for parents who are recently divorced or parents who are new to the back-to-school season in general.
If you find it is difficult to negotiate visitation around your child’s schedule or you feel your ex is not cooperating, you may need to enlist the help of a reputable, trustworthy Florida family law attorney.
The Law Offices of Aliette H. Carolan are more than happy to help you through the back-to-school custody hiccups. Schedule a consultation with us today by dialing 305-358-2330 now.