While summer still has a few weeks left for the lucky ones, for many of us, it’s already back to school time for the children.

Some will feel sad about the passage of time, but some parents have been impatiently waiting for this time since the last day of last school year and are looking forward to getting the little ones out of the house.

For almost everyone, back to school means shopping, earlier bedtimes, forcing the kids to do their homework, and after-school activities. But for divorced parents, it also means a return to the often-confusing pickup schedule and many other stressful shared decisions.

What You Need to Think About

Many divorced parents work out the details surrounding back-to-school issues once and just rely on the plan. But we all know that plans can change -- and that children’s interests and friends can change even faster.

That means it might be time to think again about questions like:

  • Who is picking up which children on what nights from school and after-school activities?
  • Where will the parents meet to hand off the children?
  • What nights will the children stay with which parent?
  • Who writes the checks for school expenses and other activities?
  • Who does the school notify if one of the children gets in trouble or hurt?
  • Where will the children spend days off, holidays, and sick days?

What Should You Do if There Are Changes?

Some divorced parents choose to rely on a handshake agreement when it comes to things like who is picking up who and when. But for many others who have a hard time agreeing on anything, it’s best to put everything in writing. And that means updating your custody and maybe even your child support agreements.

Updating your agreement means working with your family law attorney. Even if you and your spouse agree on everything, the process will be easier if you both work with your individual attorneys. That way you and your ex can be certain that your rights and interests are secure. If things are contentious, it may be necessary to call in a mediator. Having your own attorney to advise you will make sure you do not make any rash decisions that are not in your or your children’s best interests.