Homework, School Problems, and Child Custody / by Cassandra Hearn

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Most parents focus their efforts and time on helping their children do well in school. This should not change just because of divorce or separation; in fact, co-parenting effectively will require parents to collaborate on school issues and homework so that the child’s schooling needs are put first. 

The older a child gets, the more important homework becomes to their academic success. It is essential for parents to maintain a consistent schedule and attitude regarding homework across two households. To that end, communication is key. Parents need to have serious and ongoing discussions about how homework is to be handled at each household and attempt to maintain similar routines in both households. For example, parents may want to agree on a particular time that will be homework time, such as between 5 pm and 6 pm. Parents should also communicate about big assignments and projects to make sure that both parents help the child move the assignment forward, and not leave it all to the last minute during just one parent's parenting time. 

Both parents should remain involved directly with the school and school teachers. Parents should feel no hesitation about coordinating with teachers in the case of divorce or separation, as taking active steps to help the child’s schooling is incredibly important. Further, teachers may have extra suggestions to help parents navigate maintaining consistent school attitudes and boundaries for children. 

When coordinating with the school or teachers, it is important to be sensitive to keeping both parents involved with decision-making and academic planning. Parents should share notices, flyers, permission slips, and assignment lists. It is not the responsibility of the school to make sure that the parents coordinate this information, but rather the responsibility of the parents themselves. One great way to keep track of shared information is to create an online account where documents can be saved, shared, and added to by both parents.  For example, many parents use free tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive to share documents and information about school.  Alerts can even be set so that automatic email reminders are sent from the application when either parent adds information.  If that seems too complicated, sending a copy by email is acceptable as well.

If you are facing a divorce and have questions about your child and his or her school, call us today at (619) 800-0384. We have helped many clients with these issues and look forward to discussing them with you.