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Navigating back-to-school time as divorced parents

Back-to-school time can be especially challenging for families where the parents are separated or divorced. If this is your first fall living apart, you're probably still figuring out how best to deal with your kids' school and extracurricular activities this upcoming school year.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help the year go as smoothly as possible for your children and for both of you:

  • Agree to communicate regularly about your kids' homework, projects, grades and activities. If a child is struggling in a particular area, work together to help them rather than placing the blame on your co-parent.
  • Commit to attend your children's school events together -- or at least to both be there. This means a lot to kids whose parents are no longer together.
  • Try to meet together with your kids' teachers. It's best when teachers can have one conversation with both parents rather than having to meet with each one separately. This also keeps you and your co-parent on the same page and helps you agree to work toward the same goals for your children.

If these things are difficult to do, especially in the beginning, remember that your priority is doing what's best for your kids. Don't expect to agree on everything regarding your kid's school performance or activities. You probably didn't when you were together, either. However, it's typically best for kids when they know their parents have basically the same expectations for them.

If you haven't yet worked out all of the details of your custody and visitation agreement, you may choose to add some provisions regarding each of your roles and involvement in your children's education. This can help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts later on.

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