Stevens Firm - August 2018

What Matters Most

THE Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center

349 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Spartanburg, SC 29302 • • (864) 598-9172 August 2018

Back to School Isn’t Easy for Divorced/Blended Families

Tips for Putting Kids First

Back to school can be emotional for children and parents alike. On one hand, kids have the excitement of seeing their friends and learning new information. On the other hand, many students dread early mornings, homework, and a whole new social maze to navigate. The dichotomy of the experience can create a challenge unlike any other time of year. Parents encounter their own sets of obstacles. There’s the balancing of new schedules, the formation of new friend groups, and a completely different daily routine. These changes alone can be stressful. But when you add in the dynamic of divorced and blended families, mixed feelings can often turn into a minefield of stressors. That’s why we want to offer up a few tips for parents of divorced or blended families to help you transition to a happy and healthy school year. Details Including an ex-spouse in school paperwork may not be at the top of your mind when you’re filling out your child’s contact information, but it is an important step. Unless a court order specifies otherwise, including both biological parents as well as active step- parents will help should the school need to relay important information about your child. Most contact forms will not have enough space to fill out all the necessary details, so we suggest typing out an addendum for the teacher or school office. To further limit the

burden on your child, you can also use this addendum to explain the family dynamic and how it pertains to your child. The more information your school has, the better chance you have to set your child up for success. School Events Open houses, meet-the-teacher events, and parent-teacher conferences can present challenges for divorced and blended families. Both biological parents should at least be presented with information regarding school dates so they can play an active role in the life of their young student. Unfortunately, not all parents get along. Putting your child and their teacher in the middle of a potentially volatile situation can create a complicated relationship for you and your student. If you and your ex-spouse shouldn’t be in the same room but want to play equal roles, email the teacher and schedule a separate time to meet and discuss your child. Extracurricular Activities If your kids are anything like ours, they’re involved in so many after-school programs it’ll make your head spin. But just because parents are separated doesn’t mean extracurricular schedules stop. No one wants to be the parent who accidentally leaves their child at a sports complex after practice is over because they didn’t communicate. We love to promote using a shared calendar to coordinate your child’s after-school schedules. Beyond helping provide a platform to keep your days organized, in many cases, a shared calendar can also avoid unnecessary verbal communication that can lead to arguments. Divorce is never easy, but our firm is here to help. We’re not just divorce attorneys. We’re people, too. We understand back to school can be complicated for you and your child. If you have more questions about how your child can seamlessly transition when going back to school, feel free to read more about this topic on our blog: www.scfamilylaw/blog. “The more information your school has, the better chance you have to set your child up for success.”

–Ben and Jenny Stevens

Reminder About Our Firm’s Communication Policy Our promise to you is that while we are working on your case, we don’t take inbound phone calls, faxes, or emails. Our senior partner, Ben Stevens, takes no unscheduled inbound phone calls, as we have found this makes him much more productive and enables him to focus on getting your case resolved faster. You can always call our office at (864) 598-9172 and schedule an in-person or phone appointment with any of our attorneys, usually within 24–48 hours. We believe this approach is much better than the endless game of phone tag played by most businesses today. Email is also an efficient way to communicate with us, but please

be advised that emails are not typically checked more than twice per day. If you need something quickly, don’t email — call our office and speak with one of our assistants, who will be happy to help you. Disclaimer: This publication is intended to educate the general public about family law issues. It is not intended to be legal advice. Every case is different. The information in this newsletter may be freely copied and distributed so long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety and proper credit is attributed to “The Stevens Firm, P.A. — Family Law Center (”

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