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When does a new school year necessitate parenting plan changes?

As the new school year begins, most divorced parents will be transitioning from their summer parenting time schedule to the one for the school year. Whether this is your first school year as separated or divorced parents or not, fall generally brings some changes that require communication and cooperation with your co-parent in order to help your children feel supported and secure.

Perhaps you have a child who is starting a new school -- maybe moving from elementary to middle school or middle school to junior high school. Your kids may have new or different sports or extracurricular activities that will require your involvement. They may be preparing for the SATs or applying to colleges. There could be larger changes, like a move for one or both parents, or a new health issue for a child.

As the school year begins, keep track of how changes in your children's activities impact the parenting plan you have in place. There are a number of apps available that help divorced parents and their kids keep track of their activities so that everyone can stay informed and on the same page with a minimum of direct communications, which is best for some divorced couples. These apps are not only convenient for parents, they can also be reassuring for kids, so that they don't have to wonder which parent will be picking them up from practice or where they'll be having dinner that night.

Whether you use an app or a less high-tech system, it's essential for parents to keep each other informed. As children's lives and schedules change, it's easy for one or both parents to feel that they're being kept in the dark. This can lead to anger and frustration that's not going to help anyone.

Once a bit of time has passed in the new school year and you see how much your parenting plan is impacted, you may need to make some modifications to it. Since the plan you originally signed on to is binding, any changes have to be submitted to the court. Your family law attorney can advise you if and when you need to make modifications to your parenting plan to keep up with the ever-changing lives of your children.

Source: Huffington Post, "Back to School: 3 Ways To Tell If Your Child Custody Agreement Is The Right Fit," Bari Zell Weinberger, Esq., accessed Aug. 10, 2016

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