Mississippi Child Custody Lawyer Explains How the School Year May Test Your Parenting Plan

If your child is between the ages of five and eighteen, you likely understand the trials and tribulations of putting that child through elementary, middle, and/or high school. The school year for a child is associated with unique concerns and needs. These include:

  • Has the child done his homework?
  • Has the child studied for a test the next day?
  • Is the child getting to school on time?
  • Does the child have sports practice or an extracurricular activity the next day?
  • Does the child have something to wear, e.g. a clean uniform, for the next day?
  • Does the child have adequate school supplies?
  • What will the child do on half-days and holidays?
  • What will the child do during winter break, spring break, and summer break?
  • Does your child need tutoring?

The to-do list for parents of school-aged children is endless. In addition to ensuring that your child has everything he needs, you also need to ensure that you are meeting all of your goals as a parent. As such, I recommend that every couple draft a parenting time schedule to effectively map out and manage your time. Many couples going through a divorce are required by the judge or mediator to create a parenting time schedule. A parenting time schedule sets forth all of your parenting responsibilities, how much time they take, and when exactly you will do them. For instance:

  • Sunday: Assist Stephen with science fair project from 3-5 p.m.
  • Monday: Drive Stephen to school at 7 a.m. Pick up Stephen from school at 3 p.m. Drive Stephen to soccer practice at 4 p.m. Help Stephen with homework from 7-8 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Drive Stephen to school at 7 a.m. Pick up Stephen from school at 3 p.m. Attend parent-teacher conference at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Drive Stephen to school at 7 a.m. Pick up Stephen from school at 3 p.m. Meet with former spouse to exchange Stephen at 3:30 p.m.

A parenting time schedule allows you to be realistic about the time demands of being a parent. Without a schedule, many parents overestimate how much free time they have to devote to their children. Over my 10 years as a child custody lawyer, I have seen countless couples squabble over visitation schedules out of spite. They wanted to spend as much time as possible with their child – not because they had the time and desire to supervise the child but because they wanted to seek revenge by restricting parenting time for the other parent. This leads to many couples entering into time schedules that are wholly flawed.

However, time schedules do allow some room for error. When you are a newly divorced couple, it may take you a while to find the perfect balance. Even when you are honest with yourself, you may find that certain parenting tasks require much more time than you expected.

When the school year starts, you need to consider: (1) how much time your child needs and (2) how much time you have to give. While ideally every parent would be able to devote every waking moment to their children, most parents have jobs. If your job requires you to work until 7 p.m. every night, you shouldn’t sign up to take Stephen to soccer practice at 4 p.m. every Monday.

In addition, be aware that time demands can fluctuate and the nature of your parental obligations may change. For example, Stephen may decide to start playing baseball too, which involves three practices a week and one game. This requires you to find a way to help Stephen with getting to and from baseball and also making time to watch your son get better at the sport.

For helpful insight on how to effectively manage child custody arrangements, call the Mississippi Child Custody Lawyer Matthew S. Poole today at (601) 573-7429 for a free consultation.

Summary
Article Name
Mississippi Child Custody Lawyer Explains How the School Year May Test Your Parenting Plan
Description
Mississippi Child Custody Lawyer discusses the implications of school and parenting plans on teenage children.

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