McCoy Fatula, APCMcCoy
Fatula
Located in Roseville, CA
916-945-2780

Back-to-school post divorce: Which parent goes to the bus stop?

If one of the things you did this summer was get divorced, you might be feeling a bit anxious about your children's upcoming school year. In California and throughout the nation, kids and parents everywhere are shopping for supplies, filling backpacks and gearing up for the new academic year ahead. If your family has undergone a major life-change in divorce, you may face several additional challenges this year, such as who should accompany your children to the bus stop on their first day of school?

The first day of school is an annual milestone day. You might be one of many parents who give each of your children a sign to hold displaying with his or her name and the learning grade he or she is entering so you can memorialize the occasion by snapping photos in your yard or at the bus stop. The problem is, even seemingly simple moments such as this can become quite complicated after divorce.

Tips for keeping the peace during back-to-school week

Hopefully, you and your former spouse are at least on amicable speaking terms; however, even if there's tension between you, the following ideas may be helpful as you navigate your first back-to-school week since your divorce:

  • Let the kids be the focus: Your children might be experiencing some anxiety of their own, which is common for children entering new grades, getting new teachers, etc. If your divorce led to their having to attend a new school altogether, they may be even more stressed than usual. If you and your former spouse can agree to keep the peace and focus on the kids instead of any contentious issue between the two of you, the chances of success will likely increase.
  • Children love both parents: The court typically believes that children fare better after their parents' divorces if they continue to have ample time with both parents. If you can set your differences aside long enough so both of you can be at the bus stop the first day of school or at meet-the-teacher-night, etc., your children will no doubt appreciate your efforts. 
  • Cooperate and compromise: If you know ahead of time it is definitely not a good idea for both of you to accompany your kids to their first day of school (or any other school event this year, for that matter) it's always a good idea to try to at least acknowledge the other parent when you're the one in attendance. Sending photos with captions of a special moment, allowing your kids to text their other parent when possible, and other small efforts to keep lines of communication open go far to keep the peace and help children achieve success in school.

Perhaps your heart is in the right place when it comes to back-to-school ideas, but acting on your thoughts is difficult due to a child custody problem or other issue that's impeding your ability to do what you think is best for your kids. If it's a legal matter, you may want to do what other California parents have done in the past and "nip it in the bud" by reaching out for support from an experienced family law advocate.

The court always tries to keep children's best interests at heart, and a family law attorney can protect your rights and help you overcome any post-divorce obstacles that arise.

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