Divorce and Back-to-School Basics

It’s back-to-school season, meaning you and your kids have much going on. If you are going through a divorce or were recently divorced, getting your kids back in the school routine can be even trickier. However, understanding the basics of back-to-school as they apply to divorce can help you become better prepared for the school year ahead. If you have divorce concerns regarding your children and go back to school, an experienced Houston family law attorney can help.

Texas Standard Possession Order

In the State of Texas, the children of a divorced couple generally live primarily with one parent and have a visitation schedule with the other parent. The standard possession order addresses this visitation schedule and delineates the visitation basics, including:

    • Weekend visitation
    • Holiday visitation
    • Child pickup and returns
    • School schedules (drop-offs and pickups)

Additionally, the Texas family code provides that both parents are entitled to remain informed about their children’s status at school, to make important decisions related to their children’s educations, to consult with school officials, to attend their children’s school activities, and to be named as their children’s emergency contacts.

Planning Ahead

The kids are going back to school, and if you are going through a divorce or were recently divorced, you will have to do some additional planning (on top of all the planning that went into going back to school when you weren’t divorced). The best path forward is to access your children’s school calendars online and enter the dates and times of all the school holidays, early outs, concerts, parent-teacher conferences, and everything else into your calendar. Once you’ve comingled your calendars, it will provide you with a snapshot of what’s to come. Further, it will make it much more convenient for you and your ex to coordinate your schedules with your children.

Stay Involved

You are entitled to stay involved in your children’s scholastic life, so avail yourself of this opportunity. Talk to your children’s teachers and/or the administrative staff to determine if there’s a way for you to volunteer at the school. Schools can often use additional help, and it is not only extremely rewarding to help out but also help you and your children continue to deepen your bond post-divorce. Even parents with extremely tight schedules can often find a way to volunteer at their children’s schools in some capacity. Get creative by thinking about how your particular brand of expertise might be put to good use. Staying involved in your children’s schools can help make your hectic post-divorce schedule more manageable.

Cooperation

You and your ex divorced for a reason, and you may not feel like fully cooperating with him or her. Regarding back-to-school, however, you must work together to ensure everything runs smoothly. If you make it your goal to coordinate your schedule with your ex and to cooperate fully regarding everyone’s busy schedules, you might be surprised by how well you manage to cooperate. If it goes less well than you hoped, remember that you are at least keeping the lines of communication open, which is very important for your children and your back-to-school scheduling.

Expect the Unexpected and Plan Accordingly

When it comes to kids and schedules, it’s important to expect the unexpected. Any number of circumstances can throw a wrench into your plans, including:

  • If your child wakes up sick on a school day, you and your ex will likely need to perform some serious scheduling feats.
  • Snow days (even in Houston) and closures due to power outages, flooding, and more happen, and these schedule glitches can leave you reeling.
  • Even the most organized parents encounter scheduling hiccups. If your or your ex’s schedule suddenly changes, for instance, you’ll both need to address the issue.
  • If you hire after-school care, it can add a layer of scheduling challenges.

It’s in your and your kids’ best interests to have a backup plan for your back-to-school schedule.

Your Backup Plan

Once you’ve created a schedule that works for your children, you, and your ex, it’s important to dig deeper and formulate a backup plan. It’s inevitable – you will experience scheduling challenges – but if you have a Plan B in place, it will not only help but also provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve covered all your bases. Backup plan basics include:

  • If one of you faces a scheduling emergency, it helps to have a list of pinch hitters on hand. This list should include anyone who can help you care for your children in a tight situation, such as their grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters, and trusted neighbors and friends.
  • If you and your ex have staggered work schedules, you can arrange to have whoever isn’t working swoop in during scheduling problems.
  • If you work similar hours, you can determine who will stay home with the kids based on whose work is most critical that day (or by taking turns).

However you decide to proceed, preparing ahead of time will leave you ahead of the game.

If You’re Facing a Divorce, Consult with an Experienced Houston Family Lawyer Today

Back to school is always an exciting – if stress-inducing – time of year. However, if you’re going through a divorce or were recently divorced, you are facing some additional challenges. The dedicated legal team at The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, has the experience, skill, and compassion to help ensure that you and your children’s best interests are well protected now and into the future. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 713-781-7775 for a free consultation today.