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Making back-to-school stress-free after divorce

Students across Illinois are either in their early days of school or their final days of summer vacation. You may be like many parents who are eager for school to start so you can get your kids back into a predictable routine. This may also be a year that holds exciting promise, such as a special field trip or beloved teacher. Still, if your family has recently gone through a divorce, you may have feelings of dread about how the school year will go.

Divorce is disruptive even for those couples who went through the process amicably. It is not always easy to stay on the same page and offer the consistency kids need. If your divorce or custody issues left some feelings of contention between you and your former spouse, you may anticipate even more difficulty providing that consistency.

Electronic options

Perhaps the most important fact for you and your co-parent to remember is that, difficult as it may be to set aside your feelings, the well-being of the children must come first. Children are intuitive, especially when it comes to their parents, so working out a plan to communicate effectively with your ex-spouse throughout the school year is essential.

Fortunately, technology offers many ways to remain connected with someone without being in the same room. You and your spouse may find texting or emailing is best until your hurt feelings subside. Additionally, your child's teacher may have a website or portal where he or she shares important information, dates and assignments. You can request that the teacher include both you and your ex on any communications. It may also be helpful to take advantage of one of the many online calendars made just for divorced parents.

Face-to-face

You may not always be able to avoid spending time with your ex-spouse. In fact, it is a good idea to plan to attend any parent-teacher conferences together so you can both hear of and respond to your child's progress. Early in the school year and periodically throughout, you may find it helpful to meet with your co-parent to work out how you will divide academic responsibilities so one of you isn't left carrying the burden of making sure your child stays on top of assignments and projects.

There are other areas of academics your child may struggle with if he or she is sharing time between houses. For example, it can be a tremendous relief to your child if both parents know when he or she needs sneakers for gym or equipment for after school activities. Cooperation with an ex-spouse is not always easy to achieve, and you should always seek advice for any violations of court orders involving custody matters.

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