As school and families are deciding how to manage school for this fall, remember that under most parenting agreements, this decision must be made jointly. In order to navigate this and avoid the necessity of going to court, here are some tips.
Outline the pros and cons of each decision on paper for each child. What is right for one child may not be right for another.
Call your former partner to start a conversation about the choices. This is likely a conversation that should be managed in voice rather than text or email as there are so many factors to consider.
Each parent should independently research the alternatives in place for the start of the school year: Check the school district web site, search news articles, call the school. Don’t assume that the other parent has all the information. One of you may learn an important detail that the other parent missed.
Talk with your children’s counselors, physician, and parents of friends to gain insight and information.
Talk with your children to obtain their thoughts and feelings, but do not expressly ask them what they want to do or suggest that they have the authority to make a decision. That imposes too much stress on children who are already under siege. Talk about alternative ways to engage with friends. Ideally, both parents would speak with the children to present a unified approach. Make it clear that there are no “sides” in this decision and that both parents will do what is best for the children. Ensure that the children feel loved, respected and safe without relinquishing control. This is a decision to be made by adults with consideration of the children.
If your former partner does not communicate with you to jointly reach this decision, call an attorney to discuss the next step.
Wakeman Law Group
741 S. McHenry Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL 60014