Maryland Divorce & Family Law Attorneys
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Establishing School Year Guidelines Eases the Stress of Divorce on Children

With school back in session, this can become a very stressful time of year for children whose parents have recently separated or divorced. Several unexpected factors may come into play. Parents can ease the stress during this transitional time for their children by keeping the lines of communication open and working together to establish a set of rules and patterns of daily living that work for everyone. Some unforeseen hiccups can happen along the way that requires extra patience and flexibility. It’s helpful to talk to a Maryland child custody lawyer to help iron out some of the guidelines during this difficult time of transition.

Extracurricular Activities

It’s important for parents to talk to their kids about extracurricular activities. In some cases, participation may no longer be possible due to limited finances or a change in where the child lives. If children are interested in activities like sports, dance or karate classes, their schedules need to be clear to both parents. If it conflicts with visitation and custody orders, the schedule or transportation may need to be adjusted.


Homework plays a large role in students’ grades and the ability to grasp things as they learn. For parents with shared custody during the week, it’s helpful to establish a pattern for getting homework done. It may be necessary for teachers to communicate with both parents so that they know what is expected of the child in relation to homework and special projects.


One of the challenges of living in separate households is that the custodial parent may be in one school district, while the non-custodial parent is in another. Some custody agreements involve the child spending the night with the non-custodial parent during the week. This can become a bone of contention if the child is late for school or if the parent is late picking the child up after class. It may be necessary to enlist the help of a neutral or willing third party to assist with transportation.

Custodial Parent

The custodial parent is typically the one who takes the child to the doctor, signs permission slips and is involved in the student’s primary day-to-day lifestyle. This may cause the other parent to feel left out of the loop. The beginning of the school year is a good time to establish precedents for communication between the school administrators, teachers and parents. Both parents can still attend parent-teacher conferences, although it may require extra effort to be in the same place together.

When establishing any new routine, it’s important for children to have a feeling of safety and security. When both parents work together to ensure a smooth transition at the beginning of the school year, the child is more likely to thrive. Enlisting the help of a Maryland child custody lawyer to establish visitation and support guidelines during a separation or divorce can ease stress and confusion.