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Your Child's Custody Arrangements & Success in School


When you and your ex make custody arrangements for your child, it is important to make your child’s education a priority. School is extremely important for children, both for educational value and the social aspect. While it is important your custody arrangement works for both you and your child’s other parent, you should also take your child’s success in school into account.

To make your custody arrangements more effective, and the school year easier for your child, consider these co-parenting tips and tricks.

Establish a Plan

Schedule the big events throughout the school year so that both you and your child’s other parent know what to expect. While some adjustments may need to be made as the year goes on, it can be helpful to establish a plan to work from. Look at your child’s school calendar and note any early days, breaks, holidays, or other events that may require alternate arrangements. Discuss who will have the children during each break, who will attend which events and any other necessary plans.

While it may be easier to go over these plans in person, if you and your ex are unable to discuss arrangements with civility using an online calendar and communicating via email may be a better choice.

Arrange Your Child’s Day-to-Day Schedule

With the school year starting, you and your ex may have to reestablish how your custody arrangement will work. Think about who will be able to do drop-offs and pick-ups, especially if both of you work. If you need to use after school programs, the two of you should discuss your options and consider what would be best for your child while also working with both of your schedules.

School Paperwork

All schools require emergency contact paperwork, along with other information pertaining to safety and security. These forms typically come home with children during the first week of school or may need to be filled out during orientation before school begins. You and your child’s other parent will likely both want to be listed as emergency contacts, so make sure both contacts are listed wherever necessary. Nail out details such as who should be called first if your child is sick, which might be decided by who available during the day, or who can get away from work more easily.

Don’t Use Your Child as the Go-Between

Always put your child first, not only with custody arrangements but with the day-to-day activities. Avoid using your child as the messenger between you and your ex. It may seem harmless, something as small as asking your child to remind his mother about the conference the following night, but it can add stress to your child. Do not let them get in the middle, because if an argument pops up, your child may feel caught and forced to pick sides. Instead, email, call or text your co-parent to communicate any concerns or needs.

Avoid Exchanges at School

Do not use school as neutral ground for you and your ex to drop off or pick up your child. It may seem easier or more practical in some circumstances, but it could be socially awkward for you to meet or discuss your child in front of his or her peers and teachers. Even if you do not argue and remain amicable, it could still be more exposure than your child is okay with. Instead, make exchanges and meetings as private as possible, and avoid letting them happen in a place where your child may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.

Be Involved

Regardless of how much time you have with your child, be it visitation rights or primary custody, try to be an active participant in your child’s education. Ask about school, and help with homework whenever necessary. Even if your co-parent is actively involved in your child’s school, you may offer a different learning technique your child has an easier time understanding. Make an effort to be there for parent-teacher conferences and big events that your child may be excited about.

Above all, be sure you make your child the chief priority. Make sure you ask your child what he or she wants and try to make their after-school programs fit into your custody arrangement, if possible. Arrange vacations to their benefit, not just yours and your ex’s, and allow them to have play dates on occasion, even if it means losing one of your nights with your child. As your child grows, understand that arrangements will need to grow with them, and do what you can to readjust your custody agreement to support their growth.

For more help regarding child custody arrangements, contact O’Brian & Associates to discuss your situation with our Redmond family lawyers.