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Back to School Activity Planning for Divorced Parents in 2020


Given the unprecedented times that we live, “back to school” is a term that brings about far greater stress on families in 2020 than any other year during our lives. Parents must contend with children attending school in a virtual model, a traditional model, or some combination of the two. With the COVID-19 pandemic, a few additional things must be added to the “to do” list for this coming school year.

Review- Back to school is a good time to re-read your Parenting Agreement and the definitions and requirements for both parties. In the main, either both parents agree to a decision or a judge must decide in court. The family courts remain open and have adjusted well to the pandemic in New Jersey. Reviewing your agreements is even more reason to avoid any problems before they arise and before anyone commits to an activity, only to find later that the decision must be retracted.

Activities- If your Parenting Agreement requires you to discuss and agree upon your child’s activities and involvement in before and after school programs, you must revisit each of these activities with the other parent and confirm that both of you are comfortable with the arrangements that are put in place for your child’s participation. With COVID-19, this could include pre-screening questions, daily temperature checks, and mask requirements, to name a few.

Update Documents- Students must often update school forms each year including medical history and examination form. In many schools, both parents must sign the school forms before a certain deadline. With COVID-19, new areas are now relevant such as recent illnesses, travel history within the United States and abroad, and exposure to anyone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. Be sure to contact your child’s school district and update any relevant medical history forms, check-ups, and other data, all while keeping the other parent informed of new information and in the loop.

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