Moving Your Child to a New School Due to Divorce
Divorce can be hard on children for countless reasons—the upheaval from their routine, the pain of watching their parents bicker and break up, the uncertainty surrounding what their lives will look like now that their parents no longer live together. Children may rely on their friends and classmates for support during a divorce, but when children are forced to change schools as a result of the split, they may lose the comfort of their social network, as well. Moving your children to a new school as part of a divorce can have a serious impact on them. Read on to learn about considerations when deciding if a change in schools is the right call for your child, and for ways to make this transition easier on your kids after an Illinois divorce.
Courts often favor custody arrangements that allow the child to remain in their school
Family court judges understand that the tumult and transition inherent in a divorce can affect children profoundly, and they are therefore resistant to add more stress by forcing a child to switch schools during this time. If one parent plans to move outside the child’s current school district, courts are likelier to consider awarding custody to the parent who will continue to live close to the child’s current school and allow them to remain among their friends. Many schools in the Chicagoland area have social workers and/or counselors who offer individual and group counseling for students experiencing family difficulties.
Keep in touch with your co-parent
If a move to a new school is unavoidable, be sure to remain in communication about how your child is doing in their new school. Children going through personal crises may act out or struggle to keep up with school work. Communicate regularly with your co-parent about any behavioral issues that your child’s teacher reports, as well as how the child is acting at home, so that you can address concerning behavior as early as possible. It can also help to let your child’s teachers know about the divorce, so that they can keep a closer eye on your child as they adapt to life in a new school after the divorce.
Communicate about changes with your child
Children of divorce often feel powerless in the face of the massive changes happening in their lives. Make sure your child understands what will be occurring and the reasons for those changes. Allow them to feel heard by letting them express their sadness or frustration over these changes, and, if possible, remain open to their input on the changes that occur.
Facilitate time with old friends
Providing opportunities for your children to spend time with friends from their old school can help them feel less lonely or disconnected after a move. Arrange play dates and sleepovers during the weekend when you have time to visit the area you used to live.
If you’re considering a divorce or legal separation filing in the new year and need skilled and knowledgeable legal representation for your divorce, contact the Carol Stream family law attorneys at Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt at 630-665-9600, with additional offices in Chicago.