Now that another school year is about to start, it’s time to see if any tweaks or adjustments need to be made to your child’s custody schedule. Sometimes last year’s schedule won’t work as well this year. There are many factors that can affect the schedule at the start of a new school year.
If your child moves up to a new school, such as junior high or high school, the school hours could be a little different from last year. Drop-off and pick-up times may change, and it is most helpful if parents can work together to be understanding of the child’s needs to coordinate these changes.
As children get older, they may participate in more sports, clubs, or other after-school activities, change their current involvement in after-school programs, or require educational assistance in after-school tutorials as their studies change. Any change in afterschool programming could require a different time to pick the child up from school on different days. You and the other parent may need to work together to take your child to and from school, to the after-school activity, and then home afterward.
If you share child custody on a fairly equal basis, the new school schedule could affect the daily routines of both parents. You will have to be able to work with the other parent closely to meet your child’s needs. Fortunately, there are now phone apps which enable divorced or separated parents to keep track of and communicate about the child’s schedule. (Here are links to some of the phone apps available: Custody Connection, 2 Houses, Coparently, and Kidganizer.)By using these apps, you can be certain that your child isn’t sitting on the school steps waiting for a parent who got the schedule wrong.
If one parent has primary custody, that parent might be affected the most by the child’s new schedule. But the non-custodial parent could be affected as well. For example, if the non-custodial parent usually has dinner with the child on a particular weeknight every week, that night may have to change due to the new school and activity schedule. Both parents need to work on the new schedule together for the child’s benefit.
If your separation agreement or custodial agreement is detailed and specifies the days and times each parent has custody, the agreements may have to be amended to take the new schedule into account. If you have any questions about your current custody schedule or its need to be changed, you should consult with your family law attorney to prepare the appropriate documents.
The more that you and the other parent can work together to resolve the schedule issues the better things will be for you and your children.
New Direction Family Law