As the new school year begins, many families with divorced parents will need to reexamine their usual routines, to avoid common co-parenting pitfalls when the children are no longer on summer vacation. Particularly for parents who are recently separated or divorced, adhering to certain guidelines during the school year will help to ensure the children’s transition is as smooth as possible.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
As a very good Co-Parenting Divorce Lawyer once said: “One of the most important things for divorced parents to work on is maintaining an open line of communication regarding their children.” When children return to school, the number of activities in which they are participating typically increases significantly. Consequently, parents’ schedules are likely to be affected, especially when the parents are sharing custody of the children. If the parents have established an effective method to communicate, it will assist them in resolving scheduling conflicts that are bound to arise.
CONTINUE EFFECTIVE CO-PARENTING TECHNIQUES DURING THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR
In addition, by continuing to communicate – even if only in written form – parents can better ensure their children are completing the tasks required at school. When parents share custody, both will share the responsibility of ensuring their children are receiving the help and support needed to finish homework and prepare for exams. Continuing to communicate about their children’s academic successes and struggles will ensure neither parent is left in the dark and unable to provide sufficient support.
RESOLVE PRACTICAL MATTERS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
When children split their time between two different households, there are a few additional steps parents can take to simplify situations for both the children and the school.
At the start of the school year, former spouses who are co-parenting should establish routines, if possible, for the children at school. For instance, informing the school and the children of the weekly schedule – such as which parent will pick up the children from school – will be helpful. In addition, schools should be provided with information regarding whom to contact in the event of an emergency.
In addition, the new school year may negatively affect one parent’s time with the children more than the other, depending on the timing of after-school activities. Consequently, parents should consider making adjustments to the custody schedule, if necessary, to reflect the changes in their children’s schedule.
The new school year also brings a host of added expenses for parents, including new clothes, school materials and the costs associated with after-school activities. Parents should determine who will be responsible for purchasing certain items at the beginning of the school year, when possible.
UTAH BILL PROPOSES CHANGES TO CURRENT CHILD CUSTODY LAW
When a marriage breaks apart, one of the most challenging issues for a Salt Lake City couple to come to agreement on is the custody arrangements for the children. Generally, one parent takes primary custody of the children and then a visitation schedule is hashed out with the other parent. This can lead to disagreements and raised tempers if the non-custodial parent feels that they not being given equal quality time with their children. In such cases, if the child custody issue cannot be worked out, it falls upon a judge to make the final decision.
A proposed bill in Utah seeks to give judges the ability to set up a joint custody ruling so that both parents have an equal role in their children’s lives. Under the current law, a judge may decide that the parent who does not have physical custody can have their child with them on different holidays, every other weekend, and one day during the week.
However, many feel that it is important for children to feel that they have a real home and are not just constantly moving between parents’ places of residence. The new bill would enable judges to grant equal parenting time so that a child will have more access to the non-custodial parent. It is unknown whether there is any opposition to the bill.
Many couples already try to do this in Salt Lake City and the bill, if passed, will serve as a reminder to judges that there is another option when they are deciding what is in the best interest of the child, or children. Parents trying to determine a fair child custody agreement may want to talk to an attorney for advice.
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If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.
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West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
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