How to Conquer the School Year after Divorce

Parents encouraging their little daughter before the first day of school

With the school year in full motion, the fall season welcomes afterschool practices, games and activities and often the craze of extracurricular activities adds stress to most co-parenting relationships, including divorced spouses. Now that the school year has begun, many non-custodial parents are struggling with balancing quality time with their children against the benefits of their children participating in extra-curricular activities during their parenting time.

When a child’s extra-curricular activities and a non-custodial parent’s parenting time conflict, the issue of what should take priority is an issue commonly faced by divorced parents.  One reasonable solution would be to temporarily modify the parenting schedule to allow the non-custodial parent additional parenting time that is not interrupted by various activities.  This would allow the child to enjoy quality parenting time with the non-custodial parent and also reap the benefits of consistent participation in their extra-curricular activity of choice.  Of course, “over-scheduling” the child activities is often an issue too, as the child’s participation in multiple activities should not necessarily take priority the non-custodial parent’s limited parenting time.

Married parents do not feel competition resulting from time away from their child that is forced by hours of after school practices, tutors, games, and activities. It is only when, as a result of the divorce, parents have something at stake – time to gain or lose with their children – that the absence of sacrifice for their children advances. When one parent only sees his or her child for a limited number of hours per week, accommodating a child’s want to be at a practice, where that parent’s only contact with his child will be the drive to and from the activity and then waiting in the parking lot for it to end, can feel like an unfair and depriving period of time.

Parenting is about love and support for your children. Allowing tension to consume your ability to act as a parent will only limit precious time for your child’s enjoyment of school and the time they spend with each parent. The key to a successful school year is mutual cooperation, sharing of parental responsibilities, and civilized behavior between the parents.

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