July is coming to an end and August is almost here. It’s hard to believe, but it’s actually time for the kids to head back to school. While you certainly have a lot to do, from purchasing school supplies to new shoes, there’s one thing you may have forgotten: getting your parenting plan updated. Your child’s routine is about to change in a big way, and that means both parents need to be on the same page in order to make this transition a success.

One of the most challenging and critical aspects of the divorce process or ending a relationship with a partner you share a child with is negotiating a comprehensive parenting plan that establishes each parent’s rights and responsibilities. Both parents must consider their child’s emotional, physical, and social needs when developing this detailed plan. This plan is meant to provide the child with a sense of stability, while also ensuring that each parent has time and space to maintain a healthy relationship with their child. This is much more than just figuring out child support payments. For example, your parenting plan should include the child’s daily living schedule during the school year while also making plans for holidays and vacations throughout the year.

Back to school season adds extra expenses and additional responsibilities. Who pays for all the needed school supplies, clothes, shoes, textbook fees, and other expenses? Which parent fills out the emergency forms? Who is called if the child is sick at school? Which house address is selected for the school bus stop? Who pays for extracurricular activities? Who chaperones field trips? Can a parent’s new partner pick the child up from school? Parents who share a child must answer all of these questions and more.

To help you and your ex prepare for the start of school, the Covington, LA family law attorneys at Ellen Cronin Badeaux have compiled the following list of tips:

#1 Commit to open communication in all education-related decisions.
#2 Agree to review the parenting plan after every school year.
#3 Keep consistent house rules.
#4 Talk to your child about their new schedule and allow them to ask questions.
#5 Notify your child’s teacher about the parenting plan and custody agreement.
#6 Ask the school to include both of you on any mailing lists.
#7 Update school forms to reflect your child’s two addresses.
#8 Make sure the school knows which parties can pick-up your child and who should be called in an emergency situation.
#9 Make plans to drop your child off together on the first day of school.
#10 Split any costs associated with your child’s back-to-school supplies.
#11 Share your child’s homework schedule and make sure you’re both on the same page regarding scheduling, deadlines, studying, and other obligations.
#12 Agree to attend parent-teacher conferences together.
#13 Include your ex in recitals, games, and award ceremonies.
#14 Agree to share pictures if one parent is unable to attend an event.

These tips may not be what you want to do, but professionals can assure you that all of these are what is best for your child in the long run. If you need help getting some of this accomplished, it may be time to bring in the help of one of our family lawyers. Contact us at (985)-892-1955 and ask for an appointment to speak to a Covington, LA family lawyer before the start of school.

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