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Moving Your Child to a New School in a Divorce

Green new school sign

Divorce can be a stressful time for children. Children are often subjected to months of tension prior to a split, witnessing their parents’ unhappiness in the lead-up to divorce. The divorce itself brings major changes to the day-to-day life of your kids, often requiring them to move to a new home, or even a new school. If you believe that your children may need to change schools after a divorce, help make this transition as painless as possible for your kids by approaching it thoughtfully.

Consider ways to avoid a switch in schools – or the court will for you

Routine and familiarity are very important to children, especially at times of stress. When home life is unstable and in transition, changing schools can rob children of what remains of their routine. New York family court judges will make decisions about custody and parental visitation based on what they perceive to be a child’s best interests. If one parent will be forced to move to a new home that is outside of the child’s current school district, but the other will remain in the district, the court may award residential custody to the parent who can keep the child in their existing school. In order to minimize the amount of change in your child’s life, and to retain custody, try to find ways to keep your child in their current school.

Keep communication lines with your co-parent open

If your child does enter a new school after divorce, they may struggle at first to adapt to a new curriculum, or even struggle with behavioral issues as they deal with the changes at home. As challenging as it may be, remain in close communication with your former spouse about how your child is doing both at home and in their new school. By keeping one another updated, you’ll be better able to address serious issues as soon as they arise.

Alert your child’s teachers to the divorce

Make sure that your child’s teachers are aware of your divorce, so that they can be empathetic to struggles your child may be having and can help to determine whether your child may need additional tutoring or counseling as a result of the divorce.

Facilitate time spent with friends, new or old

Maintaining old friendships or creating new ones will help your children feel less isolated after a move to a new school. If your child is shy or slow to make friends, try to find opportunities for your children to connect with their peers, such as after-school activities or sports teams where making friends might be easier. In the meantime, try to set up weekend playdates with friends from your child’s old school.

If you’re considering filing for divorce in New York, find compassionate and dedicated legal help to represent your and your children’s interests before the family court by contacting the Hudson Valley family law attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation, in Kingston at 845-331-4100, or in Marlboro at 845-236-4411.

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