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When back to school and divorce occur together

By | - August 28, 2018

Steve Benmor is a recognized divorce lawyer, family mediator, arbitrator, speaker, writer and educator. Mr. Benmor has worked as lead counsel in many divorce trials, held many leadership positions in the legal community and has been regularly interviewed on television, radio and in newspapers as an expert in Family Law.

As the summer is beginning to wind down, a new school year is just about to begin.

For many, this is a stressful time of the year. For families going through separation and divorce, this is doubly stressful. Moreover, few people know exactly how to handle the situation, what to say to the kids and how to reduce the stress on them before the school year begins.


One of the most critical factors in ensuring the health and well-being of your kids is their emotional state. Despite the shock and stress that they will experience in confronting the break up of their family, the strength of the love, warmth and affection that they feel from you at this moment is by far the most important factor. Now is the time to blanket them with love and attention.


Secondly, focus on the tasks that need to be completed in order to ensure the beginning of the school year is a success. Make plans to go back to school shopping for school supplies and for clothing. Go play in the playground at the school so that they have memories of you at school while they are at recess and on lunch with their friends.  If you can, take them to school or pick them up from school for the first week.

This is another opportunity to shower them with love and attention. This way, the kids will know that the change in the family structure in no way will impact their experience of your love and affection.


Thirdly, communicate in a civil and collaborative way with your ex about the kids.  Plan their residential schedule in a cooperative way. Print out a calendar that can be put on to a bulletin board or fridge so that everybody, particularly the kids, can see it.

This will eliminate any uncertainty. Moreover, it will establish the uniform schedule that the children can anticipate.


Fourthly, create an co-parenting relationship whereby you and your ex are in regular communication regarding the children and how they are doing at school. Let the kids know what you have learned from your ex. Let your ex know what you have learned from the kids. Let the teachers know that you and your ex are on the same page.


Fifthly, try as best as you can to keep consistent house rules for the kids to follow. The kids are experiencing so much change because of the divorce, so consistency and stability is crucial during this time of adjustment.

The house rules do not have to be exactly the same, but they should be as similar as possible. Focus on considerations such as mealtime, bathing, electronics use, and homework time.

The kids’ well-being and their successful adjustment back to school should be your priorities. You and your ex need to put your divorce issues aside for the benefit of your kids. Follow these 5 tips to make their return back to school easy, smooth and worry free for your kids.

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