Monday, 09 September 2013 21:07

Back to School Tips for the Newly Separated or Divorced

     A new school year can be stressful for any family, but it can be especially stressful for a family when parents are newly separated or divorced. Questions may arise such as: Whom does the school call first if there is a problem? Who pays for school supplies? Do you need school supplies in both households? What activities will your child participate in? Some of the answers may be addressed by your Court Order or Agreement, but if you do not have one, or even if you do, there may not be clear answers.

     Many experts agree that divorced or separated parents should be on the same page when it comes to their child’s school. The most important things parents should do are communicate, coordinate, and cooperate. For some this may be easy, but for others this can prove to be difficult, especially if your divorce was not amicable.



     The Huffington Post recently posted an article by Nicole H. Sodoma:  Back to School: Learning to Share Is Not Just for Kids.  Below is a summary of the tips she suggests, along with some additional advice, to make the school year a success.

1. Take the initiative and be proactive in obtaining information related to your child’s academic progress and involvement rather than relying on the other parent to do the work for you.

2. Most schools have websites with specific information about your child’s academic progress and development to which both parents should have access. Middle and High schools in Montgomery County use Edline as a resource for students and parents. Make sure you check these regularly.

3. Schedule a conference with your child’s teacher, guidance counselor and administrative staff to discuss your family dynamics and request that both parents be contacted with any relevant information. Make sure the school has both parents contact information including email addresses. Most schools are going green and provide a lot of information through email.

4. For information not provided electronically, such as school records, report cards and assignment logs, provide self-addressed stamped envelopes to make it easier for your child’s teacher to send hard copies.

5. Understand what technology is available. There are many apps, websites and shared calendars that can be customized to fit your family’s situation. If you are not tech savvy, you can create a hard calendar with your child that can be shared at exchanges to help ensure homework assignments and projects are turned in on time.

     At Hess Family Law we also recommend that parents attend as many school events, such as Back to School Nights as possible. It is important for both parents to have contact with school administrators and teachers.

     Co-parenting may not be easy but your child will benefit from your ability to communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with their other parent. Remember that your Court Order or Agreement may take precedence over these tips. Always review your Order or Agreement and if you are not sure, check with your attorney before making any decisions or changes.


Mailing Address

Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
451 Hungerford Dr,
Suite 119-307
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Geraldine Welikson Hess, Esq
Hess Family Law
344 Maple Ave West,
Suite 355
Vienna, Virginia 22180

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Rockville, Maryland 20850
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Fairfax, Virginia 22030
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