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Homework Concerns for Children of Divorce

 Posted on January 18, 2017 in Children of Divorce

Lombard family law attorneysNot many children get home from school excited to dive right into their homework. Almost every school-aged child has homework assigned at least a few nights per week and many have homework on weekends too. Under the best of circumstances, even the most dedicated students can get burned out. For a child dealing with their parents’ divorce, the issue of homework can become a battleground if the parents do not make the conscious effort to cooperate.

Parents want what is best for their children. In a divorce situation, emotions and stress can sometimes lead a parent to try to establish complete control over the child’s education and assignments. Children may benefit more, however, when both parents agree to each take responsibility, especially when their share custody during the school week. While the specific arrangements of any family situation will be different, there are a few things that divorced parents should strive to offer their children, regardless of whether the children are with Mom or Dad.


Rules are rules and children need to be able to rely on them. Establish an expectation of when homework is to be done and keep it the same between homes. If Mom’s rule is that homework gets done immediately after school and before dinner but Dad’s rule is that it just needs to be done before bed, a child may struggle with the constant change. Parents must also be consistent about checking the work, as age-appropriate, and expectations of work quality and neatness. When expectations are the same, kids quickly realize that Dad will never believe the inevitable, “Mom lets me do it like this!”

Workspace and Materials

In both homes, children should have a specific place to do their homework. As living situations may be different, workspaces may vary between homes but should stay consistent. The child may have their own desk at one place but not at the other. A quiet table away from distractions works just as well, as long as it is the regular homework spot. Both parents should also make sure to have appropriate school and homework supplies available. Paper, pencils, markers, and similar items are not difficult to keep on hand and craft supplies are easy to pick up when needed. Thus, not being able to find a pen should never be an excuse for not finishing an assignment.

Reasonable Flexibility

While it may seem contrary to parents establishing consistency, it is also important to allow for some flexibility in the homework situation. Rules, workspace, and supplies should be consistent but there may be additional things to consider. For example, Mom may be willing to help answer questions about math homework, but one night, the homework addresses a concept that Dad understands better. A quick call to Dad may be out of the ordinary but it could prevent an hour of frustration. Extended projects also may require some creative planning. While it may be a clearly assigned part of the child’s homework, it may not be logistically feasible to transport the project between parents’ homes. In such a case, the consistent rules may not really address the problem at hand.


It is vital that parents keep each other informed of homework progress, problems and concerns. Likewise, open communication with the child’s teachers helps make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. If a child needs help with a particular subject or if his homework is not being completed as expected, it is very important for both parents to be able to address the issue quickly.  Children should also be included in the communication as much as possible. As they get older, they will be more able to recognize their own needs and what works best for their own study habits. Perhaps a child starts to realize she works better listening to soft music rather than silence, and the quality of her work shows it. Parents must be willing to adapt to the changing needs of their children.

If you are considering divorce in Illinois, or if you have a parenting arrangement that you are not happy with, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. We can help you consider all of your options and make the best decisions for your family.



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