Law Offices of Lisa Stern
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Back-to-school co-parenting tips

The end of summer and the beginning of a new school year can be scary and nerve-wracking for many Michigan children, but it can be equally stressful for divorced parents who must balance their children's educational needs with their own potentially difficult relationship. However, parents who are able to put aside their differences and openly communicate can ensure their child's education is unaffected by divorce or a shared child custody agreement.

Many schools offer tools and resources designed to make co-parenting easier for divorced couples. Most schools give both parents access to their child's progress reports, homework assignments, attendance logs and other similar information, ensuring that both parents have access to any important data they might need. Divorced parents may also find it useful to meet with their children's teachers and school administrators to fill them in on their family situation and request that both parties be contacted separately whenever the school needs to share information with students' parents. Parents can also ask teachers to send them weekly emails regarding the child's academic performance and classroom behavior to make sure the divorce is not impacting him or her in a negative way.

The proliferation of Internet-enabled technology is continuously offering divorced parents new and improved ways to keep tabs on their children. A quick web search can reveal dozens of apps and programs designed to help divorced parents better communicate and coordinate their parenting strategies. Some experts recommend that parents create a Google Calendar that allows them to easily access, modify and share their children's schedules. Text messaging also provides parents with an easy way to quickly share information about their children without requiring direct conversation that could potentially spark an argument.

Co-parenting is rarely easy, but it is crucial in ensuring that a child's best interests are represented. Divorced couples who are able to effectively work together can make sure their children are happy, healthy and engaged during the school year. Consider speaking with an attorney for ideas and methods to implement the most harmonious custody arrangements with respect to your children's educational performance.

Source: Huffington Post, "Back to School: Learning to Share Is Not Just for Kids" Nicole H. Sodoma and Penelope Hefner, Aug. 01, 2013

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