Back-to-school time is hectic for all parents. However, if this is the first fall since your separation or divorce, it can be particularly challenging.

If you haven’t yet finalized your custody and visitation arrangements, now is a good time to do that. If you have, it’s important to stick to the parenting plan you agreed to.

Consistency is crucial for kids. So is reliability. They need to know which parents are dropping them at school and picking them up each day as well as which parent’s home they’re staying in each night.

Your child support agreement should detail how school and extracurricular expenses will be covered. If you haven’t finalized that yet (and even if you have), it’s wise to have a system for tracking expenses and who is covering them.

If your kids are starting a new school or if the break-up happened since the end of the last school year, it’s a good idea to inform your children’s teachers and counselors. This can help your children avoid having to explain their home situation, and the people who will be interacting with your children during the day can look out for any behavioral or other issues and inform you if they spot anything concerning.

Communication between co-parents is more important than ever when kids head back to school. This is especially true as kids get into higher grades where they have more activities. Online co-parenting apps let parents (and kids) share calendars so that no one has to miss out on a recital, soccer game or parent-teacher conference.

Presenting a united front as parents, both for support and discipline, is crucial. Even if your parenting styles are different, parents should work to have the same expectations regarding things like homework and bedtime, regardless of whose home they’re in. Kids thrive best when they know that both parents, regardless of their problems with one another, expect them to do well in school and are there to give them whatever help they need to excel.

Whether you need to make modifications to your current parenting time plan or you still need to put one in place, your Michigan family law attorney can help you work to ensure that it meets your children’s ever-changing needs.