Updating contact information at your child’s school amid divorce

Many parents are approaching the first school year since their separation or divorce. If you and your co-parent are sharing custody, you’ll need to decide how you can remain involved in your child’s schoolwork and extracurricular activities without conflict.

You’ll also need to discuss which people at your child’s school you need to notify about the changes in your family. This could include your child’s teacher, counselor and coaches. Regardless of how much you choose to tell those at your child’s school about your divorce, you need to make sure the school has accurate contact information for both you and your co-parent. That includes phone numbers as well as email and address information so that you can receive notices from the school, the district and individual teachers and others at your child’s school.

Emergency contact information

If you and your co-parent share custody, the school should have both parents’ information on file. You may want them to list one of you as the primary and the other as the secondary contact. 

Provide that information in writing (or online, if that’s how it’s requested). Emergency contact information can be used if a child gets sick or hurt at school, if there’s an issue that requires your child to go home early or any time they need to reach a parent.

Notification emails

Schools (or school employees) email parents about everything from assignments to grades to parent-teacher meetings to school closures. You both may want to be notified about these things, so they’ll need both sets of contact information.

Even though this is probably all new for you, school administrators and teachers have a lot of experience dealing with divorced parents. They’ll be able to help you. However, remember that they have a lot of children and family dynamics to deal with. They may make a mistake occasionally. Unless they have incorrect information or are repeatedly leaving someone out, it’s best to be patient with the occasional error or oversight.

The contact information you provide your child’s school should reflect the custody agreement and parenting plan you have in place or are working on. By providing the school clear, accurate and consistent information, you’ll help things go more smoothly for everyone – most importantly, for your child.