It’s the dog days of summer – which, in Florida, means kids are returning to school. While most of the rest of the country waits until after Labor Day….we send our kids back in early August.
With the return to school comes an array of problems for divorced parents and those going through a divorce. These issues can range from where the kids will go to school to pickups and drop offs to school, involvement in parent teacher conferences, how homework is to be done and who is listed as emergency contact, among other issues.
For parents that are already divorced, most of these questions should have been addressed in the Parenting Plan. In the vast majority of cases, parents share parental responsibility. That simply means that both parents are equal and both have access to the school including the right to be notified and to consult with teachers and school officials as well as having access to records and to be listed as emergency contact for the child. The parenting plan should also address where the child will go to school and where and when the pickups and drop-offs will occur and who is allowed to pick them up and drop them off.
So, while most of these issues are already resolved for divorced parents, parents going through a divorce or merely separated, don’t necessarily have a parenting plan that has been agreed to or ordered by the court. Here is a general guide on how most parents should navigate the educational issues until they reach an agreement that is different or there is an order of the court.
1) Where to go to school – children should attend the school they previously attended, or in the case of a kindergartner, the school zoned for the residence the parents previously resided in together unless they both agree otherwise, in writing.
2) Emergency Contact – Both parents should be listed as an emergency contact.
3) Pickups/Dropoffs – Both parents should be listed as being allowed to pick up and drop off the children.
4) Homework – Both parents should ensure the children complete their homework on days they have the children.
5) Report Cards and Notices – Both parents should be listed to receive report cards, newsletters, emails and all correspondences from the school and the teachers.
5) School Activities – Both parents should be included in all school activities including meet the teacher nights, teacher conferences, performances, sports, etc.
6) If one parent refuses to contact the school and refuses to list the other parent for the above with the school, then that parent should contact the school directly and fill out the appropriate paperwork themselves as a parent.
If you have any questions about school issues during a divorce, or any other family law question, please contact The Law Office of Andrew G. Storie at 407-838-0887.