Custody and Back to School…Kind of

July, August, and September become extremely busy months in family law. Parents begin to fight over who is enrolling the child[ren] and what school and/or school district the children will go to. A new controversy many parents and households will face is determining if the child will go to public school or remain at home for schooling. School may or may not be starting back with on campus attendance this August. While all things regarding school may be up in the air, you still need to be prepared for when and if that time comes. 


Whichever parent is primary or has the educational rights to the child[ren], should be the parent to enroll the child[ren] in school at the time registration opens. Make sure this is handled in enough time that in case any issues arise, there is still time to figure things out, whether that be sitting down with the other parent and coming to an agreement or filing a modification or clarification with the court. Starting the year out on the wrong and hectic foot is one that should be avoided at all costs. The child[ren] needs calm and to know what to expect in order to be successful.

School Forms

It never fails, every year there is always the upset parent in the front office throwing a fit. The other parent failed to include them on the student information form and now the school will not release any information to them. Parents who enroll the child[ren] need to make sure the other parent is listed on the release of information form, unless there is a court order stating otherwise. Not only does it start your year off on the wrong foot with the school, it can also cause your child to be embarrassed. Try to keep your children in mind, as much as you may be upset with the other parent, it is not only them who are hurt when you do these things.

Be Active

Do not just be the parent on the list to call when trouble arises, be the active parent that is willing to assist the school. Show up to meet the teacher night, be the parent cheering in the stands for your child, and volunteer with the school to assist when they need it. 

A New Normal

This coming school year will look different from all of the years before. Not only will the schools be trying to figure out this new path, but the courts will also be facing a new argument that will surely end with several cases being decided by a judge. School districts have begun to unveil their Fall 2020 plans, including the option to go in person or virtually. So, what do you do? Some parents are able to be home and assist with the learning and education process. Other parents have a job and cannot take the time necessary to ensure their child is understanding and participating in the daily school schedule. The possessory conservator may demand that the children are kept home and want to avoid possible infection with COVID-19. However, the primary conservator may be unable to keep them home due to their working responsibilities. How does the court determine the outcome of these cases? The short answer, no one knows. But we can be sure that before long, we can turn to case law and get the answer. 

Try not to stress the children out with the unknown. As scary as it may be for the parent, consider how the children are feeling. Some children have not figured out how to sort through emotions and the thought of the exposure may terrify them. Try to avoid this unnecessary scare and provide comfort and support and ensure them that the best decision will be made. And if needed for custody issues, don’t hesitate to speak with a child custody lawyer, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, about your situation.