Your Legal Corner will discuss “Back to school concerns of divorced families.”
Winds of change are in the air, although hot and humid now, it won’t be long before the days get shorter and the air is crisper as a new school year begins. For divorced parents with children, a change in season should also mean ensuring there exists a parenting plan that will guarantee success for their children in school.
Back to school is right around the corner, but for some divorced parents visitation can lead to stress. The good news is it doesn’t have to…find out how a successful parenting plan can help lead to a stress free school year for you and your kids!
A parenting plan provides for an agreed upon schedule of parenting time. It may also address other issues regarding your children. There is no right or wrong answer; the goal is to ensure the plan addresses your families’ issues.
School age children can be extremely busy. Even the most organized, well- adjusted families’ lives can be chaotic and hectic. For divorced parents, a good parenting plan can provide stability to your children’s lives. Especially in divorced families, providing a daily routine will help children adjust to the changes resulting from divorce. Parties should agree on the standard method of communication-text, email or phone calls and be consistent in using it.
Traditional Parenting Plan
A traditional parenting plan may consist of the children residing with one parent subject to the other parent having evening parenting time one day during the week and visitation every other weekend. The parent who has the child is responsible for making sure homework is done, forms are completed and returned to school as well as other parental responsibilities.
However, during the school year, this type of agreement may not adequately address the needs of the children. Busy schedules, after school activities can complicate an already complicated situation. A parenting plan needs to take the children’s issues into consideration.
Shared Parenting Plan
Many divorced parents attempt to split their parenting time equally. In order to accomplish this goal, both parents must be flexible and committed to making it work. There are some practical considerations to take into consideration. Do the parties live near each other? How far away do they live from their children’s schools?
A shared parenting plan may consist of the children spending Monday and Tuesday with one parent and Wednesday and Thursday with the other while alternating the weekends. If feasible, this provides a great opportunity for the children to see their parents on a regular basis. However, it may also entail having duplicate set of schoolbooks with each parent as well as school supplies and clothes.
Courts prefer it when the parents can work out a parenting plan on their own. If this can be accomplished, it will save the parties time and expense of seeking a decision from the court. However, this is not always possible. Where the parties cannot reach an agreement, they can attempt mediation as a way to resolve their differences.
If an agreement still cannot be reached, each party must submit a custody and parenting/visitation plan to the court. If the court believes there exists a genuine and substantial issue regarding visitation, it will schedule a trial and take testimony from all parties involved. The court may decide to interview the children in chambers as part of the decision making process.
Just as seasons change, divorced parents who are able to adjust to the changing times and cooperate with each as to what is in the best interests of their children will give them the possible chance of adjusting to the changes inherent in divorce.
Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner, will discuss “Back to school and student employment.”
Victoria M. Dalton is an attorney with the law offices of Hoffman DiMuzio.
Send questions, or comments to Victoria at [email protected]. Or call 856-845-8243.
Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational articles about the law and is not legal advice.