The end of a relationship is hard for all parties, especially once it becomes necessary to discuss a traditionally private situation with the public. Parents are often placed in the uncomfortable position of explaining their newly single status to teachers and other school staff members during their first post-divorce parent teacher conference. If you are a parent who has recently ended a relationship, these tips for handling your first parent teacher conference as a single parent will help you as the time for fall meetings draws closer.
Be Honest About the Separation
It is possible that the subject of your separation will never come up, but if it does, remember to be honest. While it is sometimes embarrassing to talk about a change in relationship status with someone you barely know, your child may have talked to his or her teacher about the situation already. Also, being dishonest with the teacher could cause problems later if your former partner comes to the school in violation of restraining or custody orders or they have already discussed the situation with the school without you. The last thing you want is for your child’s teacher to believe that you are dishonest or place the school in a compromising situation when it comes to protecting your child’s safety.
Do Not be Afraid to Challenge Problematic Comments
In all likelihood, some of your discussion with the teacher will be uncomfortable and you may grow defensive when discussing some aspects of your relationship or your child. Even though you should try your best to not respond to comments or observations with anger or hostility, that does not mean you need to overlook any problematic comments. If the teacher makes statements about your child that you feel are incorrect or speaks negatively about your decision to separate or divorce, then there is nothing wrong with challenging those statements. Allowing a teacher to claim that your relationship is affecting your child’s grades when your child has not experienced any change in grades or letting the teacher make judgments about your relationship based on his or her personal beliefs could cause problems in the future.
Keep the Other Parent Informed
Unless you are prohibited from talking to your spouse out of concern for your safety or because there is a protective order in place, do what you can to keep the other parent informed regarding conferences. Failing to let the other parent know about problems your mutual children are having in school or hiding the fact that a conference took place could cause trouble, especially if parents share joint legal custody. Either you or your attorney should keep the other parent notified of all things concerning your child and be prepared to give him or her the opportunity to attend the conference with you or schedule his or her own appointment. The primary concern of most school systems is the progress of your child, and often that means including both parents in the conversation.
Get Answers to Hard Questions
Going through any type of legal proceeding involving the well-being of your children is often difficult. If you are not sure how to handle issues regarding keeping your former partner informed on your child’s educational progress, talking to a child custody and visitation lawyer is advisable. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum can answer your questions regarding your obligations to your former partner during and after a divorce. If you are a non-custodial parent, we can also work with you to make sure your legal right to stay involved in your child’s education is being preserved. Contact us today so that we can discuss your options at one of our conveniently located Atlanta, Georgia offices.