The school year creates a whole new set of complications for parents who share custody. Especially if your children are just about to start school after several years in daycare, the two of you may not know what to expect.
There are a couple of unique challenges that can lead to custody complications and a lot of stress for co-parents during the school year. Identifying those possible issues now and addressing them in your parenting plan will help you avoid conflict with your ex.
What are the custody challenges that come up once the children are back in school?
Someone has to be responsible during the day
Dividing parenting time during the summer is more straightforward than making similar arrangements during the school year. The children are home with a parent all day and will either need a parent to take time off of work or to arrange for childcare support.
During the school year, the children are gone from the home for eight hours, possibly more, every single weekday. However, there still needs to be a parent with authority during those times who is available in an emergency.
You never know when your child might have an outburst in class that gets them sent home for the day or when they might suddenly get sick because they ate something that triggered their allergies at lunch. One of the two of you will need to be able to go get the children from school if the need arises, so it’s important that you structure your parenting plan around that possible need.
School leads to additional demands on a child’s time
Once children are in school, they will want to attend play dates or go to classmates’ birthday parties. There are also sports and other extracurricular activities to consider. High school students might even start part-time jobs after school.
Especially when certain activities are recurring events, you may need to factor in those times when divvying up parenting time throughout the school year. The more time a child spends at school and on extracurricular activities, the last quality time they will have with their parents.
You and your ex will set yourself up for a more successful co-parenting relationship if you try to address possible school-related scheduling challenges in your parenting plan now. It is easier to resolve a situation when you already have rules in place as opposed to setting rules when issues arise. Thinking about the matters that will complicate shared custody arrangements now could help you avoid disagreements later.