The beginning of September can be a stressful time for any parent of school-age children, but for separated parents there can be additional complexities to contend with.
Here are five of our top tips for co-parenting couples to consider so that the transition to term-time arrangements is as smooth as possible:
1. Make sure you're keeping track of any updates from the school
Anyone with parental responsibility for a child is entitled to receive information from the school, including the child’s reports. Make sure that the school has up to date contact details for each parent and let them know that you require copies of any letters or emails to be sent to both of you.
2. Shopping for uniforms
Who will be responsible for buying the uniform, including any additional kit and equipment, and how will the cost be shared? Agreeing this in advance can prevent misunderstandings and mitigate the risk of starting the new term with either too many, or not enough items of school uniform/kit.
3. Field trips and extracurricular activities
Consider which after school activities or trips the children will participate in and how these will be funded. Make sure you’re clear on who is returning any consent forms or making any payments; confusion can result in missed deadlines and disappointment if places fill up. It may also be worth keeping a written record of your agreement on the costs because it can be easy to lose track of who is paying for what.
4. School events
How will you attend events such as parents’ evening or sports day? Maybe you would like to attend them all together. Alternatively you might consider dividing them up: one parent attends sports day, the other the school play, with the events to be swapped the following year. Deciding how to approach this from the outset can help to avoid a clash in your schedules later on in the term.
Naturally a lot of the focus will be on weekday arrangements, but to avoid one parent becoming ‘the homework parent’ it can be important to make sure that both co-parents are able to spend quality weekend time with the children on a regular basis.
If you find that you are having difficulties in reaching an agreement on schooling arrangements our family law solicitors can provide advice on the options available to you.
If you would like to speak with a member of the team you can contact our family law solicitors in either one of our London offices: Holborn 020 3826 7526; Kingston 020 3826 7527 or Putney 020 3826 7520. Alternatively you can complete our enquiry form.