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Accounting for child custody changes when heading back to school

As school-age children across Tennessee head back to school, many feel both excitement and anxiety. Parents are likely to feel these same emotions as their lives must now conform to the school calendar and evenings are spent shuttling kids home from after-school activities, helping with homework and enforcing bedtimes. For newly separated or divorced parents, this back-to-school year is likely to be even more hectic and stressful as both parents and child attempt to deal with changes related to child custody arrangements and school schedules.

For parents who are now living apart, it's important to provide a child's school and teacher with updated contact and address information. It's also wise to be up front and inform school administrators and teachers about a split or divorce as soon as possible. A teacher who's aware that a child's parents have recently separated or divorced can alert parents to any possible emotional, behavioral or academic problems a child may be having and help intervene before an issue gets out of hand.

In cases where a child is shuttling between homes during the week or on weekends, parents must be organized and work together to ensure they are on the same page with regard to a child's schedule and academics. Most children do best when they have predicable schedules and can anticipate what's going to happen next. Having set times that a child eats dinner, does homework and goes to bed can help both a parent and child adjust to being back in school and also traveling between homes during the week or weekend.

In addition to a set schedule; separated, divorcing or divorced parents would also be wise to discuss and plan for certain planned and unplanned events. Who will stay home with a child if he or she is sick or doesn't have school? What about attending field trips or special school events?

Life can be hectic and for a mom or dad who is dealing with a recent break up or divorce, it can be particularly challenging to remain focused and organized. Above all, a child needs a parent's attention, support and unconditional love. Parents who believe they themselves or a child is having a difficult time adjusting to a split or divorce would be wise to discuss their concerns with a professional counselor.

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Best Tips for Getting Ready for Back to School for Divorced Families," Michelle Rozen, Aug. 25, 2014

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