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Roanoke Family Law And Criminal Defense
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Back-to-school advice for recently divorced or separated parents

As schools throughout the Roanoke area gear up for the start of another academic year, children and parents must also prepare. For school-aged children and parents alike, this can be a nerve-wracking and stressful time of year. In cases where a child's parents recently separated or divorced, heading back to school may be an especially difficult adjustment for everyone.

For parents, clear communication is essential to helping a child, who is also adjusting to numerous divorce-related changes in his or her life, succeed during this and subsequent school years. The following are three key issues that recently separated or divorced parents would be wise to discuss and come to an agreement on prior to a child's first day of school.

Get On The Same Page With An Ex This School Year

  1. Establish and maintain a daily and weekly routine - Children of all ages thrive when they know what to expect and have a predictable routine. During the school day, a child's routine will be predictable. However, it's also important to establish before and after school routines and to follow these routines regardless of which parent's home a child is staying at. While some variations from a routine or schedule are unavoidable, parents should do their best to stick to a schedule when it comes to wake up and bed times, doing homework and dinner.
  2. Communicate with each other - While you and your ex may not be on the best of terms, you are forever tied to one another through your child and you owe it to him or her to set aside your differences and work to co-parent effectively. In addition to communicating about a child's schedule and routine, parents should also address issues related to school projects, sporting events and social activities.
  3. Communicate with school - Parents should inform a child's school and teachers about a recent divorce or separation. This is not only important from a practical standpoint (i.e. does a child need to take the bus or who is picking him or her up), but also gives administrators and teachers a heads up about changes in your child's life that may impact him or her academically, emotionally and socially.

Adjusting to a separation or divorce can be challenging for the whole family. By establishing some ground rules upfront and vowing to open the lines of communication, parents can make the transition easier for school-aged children.

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