Child custody and parenting: Who pays for school supplies?

Many Washington parents got divorced over the summer. Now that most schools throughout the country are opening once again, custody and parenting issues might arise for those who are still adjusting to post-divorce lifestyles. There are several things to keep in mind to help keep back-to-school stress to a minimum.

In all aspects of parenting and family life as it relates to divorce, financial issues are always a concern. Incorporating back-to-school issues into a co-parenting plan can help avoid problems. For instance, most schools issue supply lists for backpacks, books, writing tools and other supplies, so divorced parents will need to decide who will pay for these items. Perhaps, a best case scenario might be for co-parents to share the cost if possible.

No matter who is funding a child's back-to-school season, the important point is to lay it all out (preferably in writing) ahead of time so there are no negative surprises when school starts. Children may have an easier time adapting to a new school year after parents divorce if their parents and teachers stay closely connected. It is helpful to meet with teachers ahead of time as co-parents to fill them in on the situation and provide any necessary details regarding a custody order or which parent to call if a problem arises.

The more former spouses are able to work together as a team on back-to-school custody and parenting issues, the likelier it is that the kids in question will have a successful school year. It is common for life changes such as divorce to negatively affect a child's ability to function in school, so co-parents are wise to cooperate and compromise as needed to keep children's best interests in mind. An experienced Washington family law attorney can help overcome any legal obstacles that arise.

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