Back-to-School Tips for Divorced Parents

Kay Polk, Attorney at Law

Back-to-school season can be challenging for the divorced parents of a minor child. However, a parent’s duty to provide their children with adequate financial support to secure food, clothing, healthcare and the child’s educational needs lasts beyond the end of their marriage. This article discusses tips to make fulfilling your parental obligation to support your child’s educational needs a smoother and easier process.

Keep Receipts for School Supplies

Divorced parents of a child who is going back to school should establish a plan for splitting back-to-school costs. With that in mind, both parents should make sure to keep all receipts for the school supplies and other back-to-school expenses they purchased. In the end, parents can tally up what they both spent and divide the total bill between them.

An equal division of back-to-school expenses is a simple way of dividing the costs between you and the other parent. However, you don’t have to agree to go dutch on the back-to-school bill. Alternatively, parents can divide back-to-school based on their respective income ratios. So, if one parent is responsible for 70% of their child’s financial support, they can be made responsible for 70% of back-to-school costs.

Don’t Start a Best Parent Contest

Some divorced parents may have an undercurrent of competitiveness between them. Such parents might see the back-to-school season as an opportunity to bid for their child’s favor. Trying to outspend the other parent in a misguided best-parent contest can ultimately escalate back-to-school costs to unreasonable heights. Both parents should try to get on the same page about managing their child’s expectations and the expenses of returning to school by organizing a back-to-school budget.

Show Up Together for Day 1

While many divorced parents might be eager to enjoy time apart from their spouse, they should do what they can to present a united front on their child’s first day at school. For children, returning to school can be a stressful experience. This is particularly true for children who are transitioning from primary to secondary school grades.

Most parents want to do whatever they can to encourage and support their children during stressful experiences. Parents can use this as common ground to momentarily put their differences aside for the first day of school.

If one parent lives too far to attend their child’s first day of school, the other parent might want to contact them using a video-chat app so they can express any words of encouragement and support to their child.

Attend Parent-Teacher Conferences Together

Although divorced parents might be on opposite ends of many issues, that probably doesn’t hold true when it comes to having their child’s best interests at heart. Parents can put their differences on hold to show up together for parent-teacher conferences demonstrates to their child and his or her teachers that they are serious about the child’s education.

For parents who live far apart, the absent parent should try to set up a video chat or teleconference for parent-teacher conferences. This sends a strong message that the absent parent will play an active role in supporting the educational needs of their child.

Schedule Times for Progress Updates

As your child gets older, their academic and extracurricular responsibilities might expand. Divorced parents should schedule times to discuss their child’s academic progress throughout the year. This gives parents an opportunity to adapt their parenting approach according to any changes in their child’s educational needs.

Divorced parents can utilize scheduling and time organizing applications to coordinate parenting efforts. Back-to-school season can be seen as an opportunity for parents to strengthen and hone their organizational abilities. Moreover, organized parents with strong time management skills have a stronger basis for imparting those same virtues to their children.

Get in Touch with Kay Polk, Attorney at Law

Divorced parents are often required to confront unique parenting challenges. If you are a parent who is planning on getting a divorce, retaining the professional services of an experienced legal counselor can go a long way to simplifying your parental responsibilities. At the office of Kay Polk, Attorney at Law, we can take the lead on all legal issues so you can dedicate your attention on being a loving and caring parent for your child.

If you have questions about how Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can assist with legal concerns, call our office at (713) 234-6260 or contact us online today.