If you are the divorced parent of a school-aged child, you have probably spent the better part of the last month helping your child adjust to the rigors of the new school year. Reestablishing school routines after a several-month vacation can be quite challenging, to say the least. Now that school is well underway once again, the first parent-teacher conferences will be coming soon. It is important for you and your child’s other parent to plan ahead to avoid any unpleasant surprises in your efforts to help your child.
Determine Who Will Attend
Depending on the terms of your parenting plan or custody agreement, one or both of you may be legally responsible for all of the important decisions regarding your child’s education. Not having decision-making authority does not mean that a particular parent cannot attend a parent-teacher conference, but if there is any sort of distractive conflict, the parent with more decision-making responsibilities should be in attendance if at all possible.
You should also discuss the roles of stepparents or new long-term romantic partner. This includes taking a close look at why or why not they should be included and how recently the new relationship began. For example, a person that you just began seeing—and who has barely met your children—would probably have very little to offer at a parent-teacher conference. A stepparent who has been in your child’s life since infancy, however, could provide helpful insights and support.
Together or Apart?
Once you have decided who should be present during the conference, it is important to understand your ability to work together in the same room at the same time. If you are able to do so, meet with your child’s teacher together. This ensures that both of you receive all of the pertinent information about your child’s academic progress. If you cannot meet together, your child’s teacher has likely dealt worked with many divorced parents and will probably be accommodating to your needs.
Be Fair and Stick to the Facts
Your child’s teacher does not need to know about the disagreements you have with your former partner, not should the teacher be pulled into the middle. If the other parent is not providing enough structure and discipline regarding homework and school projects, the parent-teacher conference is not the appropriate setting for addressing that issue. An experienced teacher will understand the challenges of a two-home situation without needing to know all of the messy details. Instead, focus on what you can do help your child overcome the difficulties of the situation.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
If you are subject to a parenting plan and have questions about your rights regarding your child, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney. Call Kezy & Associates at 708-518-8200 for a free consultation today. Let us help you keep your child’s educational future bright.