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Tennessee parents: get schooled on your parenting plan this fall

Back-to-school season is here and that means kids all across Tennessee are getting their new class schedules, adjusting to waking up earlier and coordinating all their after-school activities.

However, kids aren't the only ones who have new schedules this fall; parents who share child custody also need to make sure they understand how the new school year will affect their parenting plans. This can be especially important for parents who are recently divorced and may not have had to deal with this process before.

During the summer, parents may have been a little more flexible with their custody arrangements. Things like vacations, family reunions, summer camp and other events can add some hiccups to routine custody arrangements, but now that school is back in session, it can be crucial to revisit the rules set in the parenting plan.

Making sure you and the other parent of your child knows who needs to be where and when at all times can be the most important priority when it comes to complying with a parenting plan. Failure to be where you need to be when you need to be there could be considered a violation.

More importantly, however, it can be very upsetting for the child. Young people need to feel safe and secure at all times throughout the year, and this means knowing that they will be picked up or dropped off by a parent when they are supposed to be and not left at school or home because of a parental miscommunication.

Your parenting plan can also include information on boundaries regarding the attending of school functions for your child. Being very clear on who is expected and allowed to show up at events like conferences, soccer games, school plays and field trips can save you and your child from a potentially embarrassing altercation.

Taking the time to re-familiarize yourself with your parenting plan can be crucial in avoiding conflicts and making sure your child knows what to expect. This can be a difficult adjustment for everyone involved, but you can make it a little easier by knowing and sticking to the plan.

Source: The Huffington Post, "10 Smart Back-To-School Tips For Divorced Parents," Brittany Wong, Aug. 24, 2015