Back-to-School Time and Child Custody: Tips for Separated Parents

If you've recently undergone separation from your spouse, you probably haven't come up with a solid custody agreement for your children. During the holidays, it's easier to decide where the kids stay and how often they visit the other parent. However, once school opens, creating an effective agreement amid separation or divorce can be tough. 

This doesn't mean that your children should suffer due to your divorce. Here are some tips on how to manage child custody without affecting your kids' school schedules.

Keep the Schedule Simple and Consistent

As schools set to open, sit down with your former partner and plan how you will co-parent. Determine which days you'll have the kids and which ones your ex-partner will. Note that factors such as the distance from home to the child's school can affect custody. Ideally, the parent who retains the family house or lives closer to the school should have custody during weekdays. 

This will prevent disruptions in the kids' schedules. Avoid visitations over the weekdays, especially if the co-parent lives far away, as this can affect the children's sleep schedules. Keep your agreement consistent and ensure it's for the best interests of your kids.

Revise the Visitation Agreement

When schools open, visitations may have to be limited to the weekends. Therefore, if your previous agreement included sporadic visits during the weekdays, you should revise it. Let your ex have the kids over the weekend and bring them back before school. Should they want to visit the kids on weekdays, you can make arrangements for them to come over after school or for dinner.

Be Present for School Activities

No matter how young they are, children are almost always aware of changes in the family dynamics during separation and divorce. Some develop feelings of guilt and will blame themselves for the separation. In addition to assuring and comforting your kids, it's crucial to be present when they need you. 

If your child needs help with homework or choosing subjects in their next grade, be there for them. Both parents should also be present for school meetings and extracurricular activities. The child needs support from both parents, and you and your ex must put your differences aside for the sake of your kid.

Plan Ahead for Holidays

Finally, plan early for holidays to avoid arguments and hastened travel arrangements. For example, if the co-parent will take the kids for the Easter holidays, communicate this early on. This way, both parents can plan for the holidays with the kids in mind. It will also protect the kids from being caught in the middle of disagreements.

Creating a practical custody agreement during separation can be difficult, especially if you're not in good terms with your partner. Talk to a family lawyer who can help you navigate the process and have a smooth school term.

To learn more, contact a resource like CJM Lawyers.