You and your spouse decided to get divorced after a decade of marriage and two children. The oldest is in fourth grade. The youngest is in first grade. They both go to school full time now, and their education is very important to you.
Is the divorce going to have an impact on that education? It can. You and your ex need to take the time to think about what you can do to help your school-aged children. If you have the right focus, they can thrive in their post-divorce life. But it will take work on your part. Here are a few things you can do.
1. Get on the same page regarding homework
Problems arise when one parent strictly makes the children do all of their homework and the other does not. This can alter the relationship the children have with each parent, and not necessarily for the better. They tend to gravitate toward the parent who allows them to skip their homework, even though that’s not the best decision for their future. It’s just easier.
The key is for you and your ex to recognize that, while you both have the final say when you have custody of the kids, it’s best to be on the same page. If you have the same rules and enforce them in similar ways, the children get more out of it. Remember just how important consistency is for them. Putting them first does not mean only telling them what they want to hear.
2. Communicate clearly regarding schedules
With two kids in school, schedules get complicated. Who picks them up at the end of the day? Who drops them off? If they have practices with a sports team or other obligations, who transports them? What about games on the weekends?
The key is for you and your ex to communicate clearly. You never want the child to miss something important to them because both of you thought the other was handling it. At the same time, make sure you and your ex are flexible with these schedules. Focus on helping the kids live their lives.
3. Work out the costs
School comes with extra costs. Maybe you have to pay tuition. Maybe you need to buy school supplies and new clothes. Maybe the kids need uniforms for band or sports.
You and your ex have to talk about these costs and figure out how to pay them. Don’t refuse, trying to force your ex to pay, only to have the child miss out. Plan in advance. Find financial solutions that work for everyone — including the kids.
All of this can get fairly complicated, which is why it’s important for parents to also understand their legal options while going through a divorce.