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How divorced parents can help their kids plan for the school year

The new school year is a time of transition. Parents in Arizona who have gone through a divorce, another type of transition, can help their children adjust to new classes and the separation by preparing for the year ahead.

Parents should sit down with their kids and talk to them about future goals. While academics are important, so are extracurricular activities, jobs for older children and relationships. Parents can help children identify three goals that they both agree on. They may also want to talk about potential challenges and how support can be provided. If both parents can be present for these conversations, it is ideal. If that isn't possible, a parent can encourage their children to talk about these goals and challenges with the other parent as well.

Divorced parents may also have expenses arise that are not covered as part of the child support agreement. These might include special occasions like homecoming as well as additional school supplies. Children who work may contribute some of their income toward these expenses. In fact, this can give parents a chance to teach them responsible financial behavior. Children can take charge of their own extracurricular registrations and begin tracking expenses. Parents can also teach them about spending, saving and credit card use.

How these conversations proceed will depend in part upon the child custody agreement. For example, both parents may participate more in these discussions if they share custody. Parents might also need to talk about how to coordinate custody and visitation schedules with the children's new school schedules, including extracurricular activities. Parents should be flexible about elements of the custody and visitation schedule, but if it appears that a change is needed over the long term, they might need to return to court for a modification.

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