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August: Starting school and ending marriage

August marks the end of summer and the children's impending return to school. It is also likely that if you're going to divorce this year, it will happen this month.

Research from the University of Washington found a biannual trend of divorce filings in March and August. The school of thought behind what researches believe motivates divorce during these times is that couples give it "one last try" through the winter holiday season or a summer vacation with the children. If their hopes for reconciliation or improvement aren't met, they choose to end the marriage.

If you are spending the end of the summer beginning the divorce process, here are a few tips for managing this difficult time while preparing your children for the school year:

1. Divide school shopping

Allow both parents to be involved in the school shopping process - whether it is for supplies or clothes. One parent can tackle clothes while the other handles supplies, giving the children time with each parent and allowing both parents to feel like they are still active in their children's lives without having to spend awkward time together.

2. Discuss school pick-up and drop-off

Your children's needs must be maintained through a divorce, so it's important to discuss who will cover responsibilities like school pick-up and drop-off, before- and after-school care and more.

If it is tense or awkward with your ex-spouse-to-be, it is especially important to discuss drop-off and pick-up on the first day, when both of you will most likely want to experience. Will both parents be present to see the children off to school? If not, can one parent handle the morning while the other picks up the children and gets to hear their first thoughts on the first day?

3. Communicate openly with your children

Make sure your children are aware of how the back-to-school processes will change and how it will affect the school year. There is no need to drag them into the murky aspects of divorce, but open discussion about the information that is key to their daily routine is healthy for all parties. And kids can figure out quickly when something is up.

With open communication between parents about the division of responsibilities and respect for each parent's involvement in their children's lives, handling back-to-school season and a divorce at the same time doesn't have to be a larger stressor than necessary.

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