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How to avoid making the school year one long fight

In classrooms across Virginia, the school routine is in full swing. Your children may be making new friends, learning new things and getting comfortable with their schedules. You probably wish the same was true for the comfort level at home. If your family is still adjusting to a recent divorce, you are likely facing common issues that escalate into disputes between you and your former spouse.

Perhaps you have already been back in court to resolve some child custody disagreement. Communication breakdown is frequently at the center of these disputes, and perhaps that was the impetus for your divorce. However, for the sake of the children, family counselors recommend learning effective ways to communicate with your ex through the school year.

Taking the high road for the sake of your child

You may expect your former spouse to know how to find out what is going on in your child's life and refuse to share the information that could keep him or her in the loop. On the other hand, you may have less time with the children and depend on your co-parent to keep you updated on events and assignments.

In either case, the child is the loser. Having one parent who doesn't show up for important events or another parent who holds information hostage may create stress and confusion for a child. While you may not be able to control your co-parent's behavior, you do have control over your efforts to keep the peace. Some of the ways family counselors recommend for you to do that include:

  • Access your child's school portal or teacher's website and request a login for your ex-spouse. This relieves you of having to inform your co-parent of items of interest to your child.
  • Share your co-parent's email address with your child's teacher and ask that both of you be included on any messages. Be sure to copy your ex-spouse when you communicate with the teacher.
  • Use an online website that offers shared calendars to facilitate co-parenting.
  • Communicate directly with your co-parent (not through your child) about school projects and assignments, and coordinate how each of you will help the child.

Parent-teacher conferences are likely to be a challenge, especially if you and your ex do not get along. However, using that time to bicker or one-up each other means you will not be focusing on the purpose of the meeting: the well-being of your child.

While these are only a few suggestions for making the school year as smooth as possible for your child, there may be issues that arise that schedules and calendars cannot resolve. Fortunately, you always have recourse to the personal service of a family law attorney who will advocate for you and support your efforts to act in your child's best interests.

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