Back to School Considerations for Co-parents

The school buses are on the roads and our kids are back in the classroom. It can be an exciting time of year as our kids get back to seeing their friends and educators on a daily basis – but it can also be a stressful time for parents.

Co-parents in particular face new challenges during this time of year. Custody and visitation schedules are already locked in by the courts, but those schedules might not look the same with students needing more accommodations (especially those with extracurricular activities). So, it’s important to get in touch with the other co-parent, even if it’s difficult to communicate with them, to make sure this time of year goes smoothly for everyone involved.

Make a shared schedule

Co-parents will want to focus on making sure their children get to-and-from school and extracurriculars. This might mean breaking the typical visitation schedule and being flexible in our own schedules to make sure our children’s needs are met.

Our children have to come first, even when relationships fail. A shared schedule between both parents can prevent confusion and ensure your children don’t end up stuck at school or missing out on important events.

The bonus here is that the schedule can replace any additional communication. Once you have a schedule set, the two of you can rely on the schedule to see who will be responsible for what and when. If you need to break the set schedule then it should be communicated as soon as possible and amicably resolved.

Make time for school work

This journey as a co-parent can make every moment feel that much more important. However, we shouldn’t take school work for granted. It can be tempting to try and be the “fun parent,” but our children will benefit much more when both parents are involved in their education.

Your visitation, even if it’s limited, should make room for school work. Help them work through assignments and work on projects together. This quality time will go a long way for our children and they’ll see over time how important those moments are.

Attend meetings and events when possible

If you can’t stand being in the same room as your ex then you’ll need to communicate which of you will attend certain meetings and events. Otherwise, you should consider attending parent-teacher meetings together to make sure you’re both on the same page with your children’s teachers. This unified approach will comfort our children but also prevents confusion about what’s going on in the classroom.

Petition for modification

When all of this fails and one parent doesn’t step up to the plate then it could mean a modification of previous court orders is necessary. If the custodial parent seems to be pushing all school-related responsibilities onto the noncustodial parent then it could be a sign that the wrong parent has custody. If the noncustodial parent refuses to step up to the plate when their children need help during the school year then maybe their responsibilities overall should be reviewed.

A petition for modification will be necessary to change these orders. This petition can be a request to either review the entire custody agreement or to adjust custodial and visitation rights to a certain extent. This can be an expensive process, so both parents should try to work out the differences before going to court.

Child support also may need to be reconsidered if one parent is suddenly taking on more of the responsibilities. If there are more overnight stays with one parent now then that parent may either need additional child support or pay a lower amount.

At the Law Offices of Ray Garcia, we’ve seen so many families struggle to make schedules work this time of year. It becomes more challenging when one parent, in particular, is being difficult. If you need help modifying child custody, visitation, or support in Florida then contact our team.