Let’s Make this Work – Back to school tips for co-parenting

School has just started back, so I thought a few reminders and tips would be useful for my parents co-parenting to get through the school year smoothly. When parents are separated and trying to

Pick ups and Drop offs

In cases where there is a divorce or separation, the schools will not deny a parent from picking up their child unless there is a court order prohibiting the pick up or drop off. Some schools even require parents to provide a list of persons authorized to pick up and drop off the children. If you do not want your child’s other parent to pick up them up, then you should find out about getting a court order.

Access schedule

Following up to pick ups and drop offs, schools will not enforce an access schedule provided by the parents unless it is in a court order. Schools do not want to get involved in family legal matters and in truth, it is understandable that they would just want a legal document outlining who has the child on which day to create stability in the child’s life and to ensure they are not getting caught in conflict.

Moreover, when there is no court order established, one parent cannot unilaterally impose an access schedule (or referred to as a visitation schedule in the U.S.). Should a parent decide to create a schedule and force the school and other parent to follow it, it can jeopardize their case, and they can ultimately lose custody of their child.

If you feel like you need an access schedule for the school so that the child is not being taken by the other parent on days they are not supposed to, then get a court order as soon as possible. It does not necessarily mean starting a year-long court battle. Depending on how cordial the parents are, court orders can be done in a very short period of time.

Information

Unless there is a court order stating otherwise, both parents have the right to access information about the child’s school records.

Children should always come first

If there is homework to be done, instead of fighting with your ex about who picked up your child from school, spend time helping your child grow. I know it’s easier said that done, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in how difficult your ex is, that often parents don’t get to spend enough time just being happy with their children, or even having dinner with them to see how their day is going. Co-parenting isn’t easy, so just keep reminding yourself to focus on your child’s development.

And finally, try to keep your child on a routine if that’s what is practiced at home. If not, then this point may not be useful. If the child is used to going to bed at 8p.m., then ideally you would want to keep that routine to ensure the child is on a schedule. If the access parent is scheduled to pick up the child from 3:30p.m. to 8:00p.m. then respect that schedule and do not pick up the child at 6:00p.m. and return them at 10:00p.m.

As difficult as it can be to co-parent because some parents just can’t get along anymore or there was just too much tension between the parties, it is important to always focus on the child’s best interest, and respecting the other parent is part of that. If you need help coming up with a parenting plan to help your child get through this separation, call us today at the Law Office of Athena Narsingh for a free consultation.

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