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Is this your first back-to-school season after divorce?


If you’re one of many Texas parents who filed for divorce in recent months, you and your children have no doubt been doing your best to adapt to a new lifestyle. You hopefully have a strong support system in place, as this is typically the key to being able to cope with major life changes that often occur because of divorce.

Maybe you and your kids have been talking about how to move on without dwelling on the past, and how to remember that, although your circumstances have changed, you, them and their other parent are still a family. It’s good to keep this in mind when the back-to-school season arrives. It is also wise to discuss important issues with your ex in order to navigate the school year ahead with as little co-parent stress as possible.

Divorce often disrupts routines

Children thrive on structure and routine, which can be challenging to establish after a recent divorce. As your kids prepare for a new school year, you and your ex can avoid stress by mapping out your goals for daily routines. Will the children stay in one household throughout the year? Will you both take turns driving them to and from school?

If there is a parent/teacher conference or special school event, will you both attend, or will you alternate turns? These may seem like minor issues at first, but if you don’t plan ahead and agree on certain terms, problems can quickly arise.

Going back to school costs money

If your children attend public school, they likely receive a supply list near the end of summer. As newly divorced parents, you and your ex must determine who will be responsible for these and other school-related expenses.

The court believes children should be able to maintain a post-divorce lifestyle as close as possible to what they were accustomed to when both parents lived together. Discussing financial issues and writing out detailed terms of the agreement, especially if someone is paying child support, is a key factor to avoiding disputes.

Update contact lists

It is a good idea to inform your children’s teachers, coaches and others who are key figures in their lives that your family dynamic has changed over the summer. You and your ex can update your children’s contact lists, as necessary. Are there names of close friends or relatives you wish to add as emergency contacts? Do your children have new addresses or home phone numbers?

The more thorough you and your co-parent are in updating your contact lists, the less likely trouble might occur. If someone shows up to give your kids a ride home from school but their name is not on the school’s list, officials may deny the person from taking the kids. Co-parenting after divorce can be challenging; however, a willingness to compromise and a strong support system can facilitate swift resolution of any problems that arise.