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Navigating the new school year as a divorced parent

Back-to-school time is generally one of mixed emotions, both for parents and children. For separated or divorced parents, these can be complicated by logistical issues that they need to work through while trying not to add to their children's anxiety about the new school year.

This may be particularly true if this the first school year since a couple's separation or divorce. However, even for those who have been divorced for awhile, other changes may necessitate some revisions to your schedule. Maybe one or more of your children is entering a new school. Perhaps one parent has moved over the summer. There may be new or different extracurricular activities.

Knowing how your children react to a change in their routine is key to how you deal with the changes that the new school year will bring. Some may need to talk about them and what this will mean, in terms of which parent takes them to and from school and activities, how much time they spend with each parent and who they can count on to be at games or events. Letting your children help you make a calendar clearly showing these things can help them (and you) feel less overwhelmed.

It's important for both parents to listen to their children's concerns about the changes that lie ahead for the school year and acknowledge their feelings. Flexibility is also key as you work through the transition that fall brings. It may take some time to find out what works best for everyone -- particularly what is in the best interests of your children.

Sometimes a new school year brings necessary modifications such as an increase in child support if a child is switching to a private school or has new or increased expenses. A change in custody or visitation arrangements may be required.

While many minor issues can be worked out between ex-spouses who have an amicable co-parenting relationship, sometimes modifications need to be made to the support or custody agreements. Often, experienced Louisiana family law attorneys work with their clients during the divorce to foresee changes that will be needed as their children transition to young adults. This can minimize the amount of time you have to spend dealing with legal issues later on. However, it's best to consult with your family law attorney if you have questions or concerns as your family embarks on a new school year.

Source: Huffington Post, "Back-to-School for Kids of Divorce," Jenny Kanevsky, Aug. 20, 2015

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