The ability and the right to participate in the educational decision-making surrounding your child is an essential part of being a parent. This is something that many families overlook during a family law case. While you may be focused on winning as much time as possible with your children in the family law case it is also important to remember that there are many fat sets to your child’s life. One of those facets is the ability to make decisions regarding the well-being of your child’s schooling. Whether your child is just starting in school or is in high school, your children can benefit a great deal when you can make decisions on their behalf.
For the most part, after a family law case, you will have the right to make certain decisions regarding your child’s education. When we look at a child custody order there are rights that you can hold in tandem with your co-parent, exclusively or independently. How these rights are divided between you and your co-parent will determine the extent to which you get to make decisions on behalf of your child in this important area of their lives. Certainly, having a history of being involved in the decision-making in these areas for your child is important. If you have been an absentee parent for the most part with your child when it comes to decision-making on educational issues, then it is unlikely that a judge would award you much in the way of rights or duties in a family law case.
It is also possible, though unlikely, that you would not have any rights to your name when it comes to making decisions on behalf of your child’s education. This can come up in situations where you have been deemed unfit by the court to be able to weigh in on these matters for any number of reasons. As you can tell, there is a wide range of outcomes that could result in a child custody or divorce case when it comes to educational rights. As a result, having an experienced family law attorney available to assist you in this type of case can be critical. In today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we are going to share with you that’s some helpful information about the subject of your child’s education.
What are the basic educational rights of a parent?
When it comes to making decisions and having rights on behalf of your child’s education there is a basic assortment of rights that you should be aware of. The first is to be able to view your child’s school records such as their report cards, permanent records, or disciplinary infractions when need be. This can be important if your child is recommended to take different types of classes at school or maybe looking to transfer schools. As a part of your child’s day-to-day school life, it is also important to be able to communicate with your child’s teachers. That way you can be aware of any upcoming appointments like parent-teacher conferences.
One of the most critical ways that parents can be left out of a child’s life is when he or she is not listed as an emergency contact for the child. For example, suppose that your child is injured at school and has to be taken to the hospital. If your co-parent is the one who was in charge of keeping people’s names on the emergency contact list then you can expect that he or she will not list you. When this happens, you are left out of the loop when it comes to simple issues but also on emergency issues like when your child is injured. This can be extremely harmful to you and to your child.
A way for you to be able to ensure that your rights in this important area are respected is you get a copy of your court orders to your child’s school. You should phone them and let them know about your situation so that you can make them aware of any challenges that you are facing. It is not easy to have to work with so many people. However, coordinating with the school may be necessary especially when you are not the primary conservator of your child. This may be the difference between you being able to do things like visit your child at school, be alerted to their school activities, and being informed of emergencies involving your child.
What if your co-parent tells you that you cannot see your child at school?
This may be a situation that you have found yourself in. Suppose that you have expressed an interest in seeing your child at school. Your work schedule has changed, and you can now take it lunch break to spend time with your child and to eat lunch with him or her. This is a standard thing for parents to do with their children. Many parents wouldn’t think twice about going to see their children at school like this. However, when you got in touch with your co-parent to find out about your child’s work schedule you were told that you were not able to visit with your child. This came as quite a shock to you.
The question that you need to ask yourself now is whether it is true you cannot visit your child at school. Right off the bat, we can tell you that unless you are court order prohibits you from meeting with your child at their school then you are legally able to do so. Nothing is preventing you from going to your child’s school unless your court orders say that you can’t. For this reason, it is a great idea for you to understand your court order from the front to the back to understand what your rights and duties are with your children. Your co-parent is not the ultimate source of information regarding your child. You need to be responsible for understanding these obligations. If you are not, then you are susceptible to your coparent taking advantage of you or misleading you whether that be on purpose or accidentally.
How can you find out about your child’s school performance if your co-parent will not?
If you are a parent who has limited experience with your child’s school, then you may have a question about how he or she is doing as far as their education is concerned. Not being able to receive progress reports, report cards and other mailings from school may be just the tip of the iceberg with your child. These are basic reports that you might receive and under the Texas Family Code and your court order, you have a right to do so. As it sometimes happens, however, your co-parent may have control over who is sent report cards from the school. If you are not on this list and your co-parent will not update you on your child’s grades, then it may be a struggle for you to find out how your child is doing in the classroom.
As with most of the other topics we’ve been discussing today, you have a right to be able to be kept informed of your child’s academic progress. The ultimate source for your rights in an educational setting is your court orders. However, as a rule, you as a parent have a right to receive updates about your child’s education. What you need to focus on is understanding your court orders as best as possible and then using that information to your advantage when it comes to understanding how you can help your child with their school performance.
There is a straightforward process involved with you being able to see your child’s grades at school. Again, it may be more effort for you to go through than you want to but unfortunately, this may be your reality considering the difficulties you have had with your co-parent related to your child’s schooling. First, you can make a copy of your child’s custody orders and provide that to the school for them to keep. Having a certified copy may be preferable. A certified copy has the court’s seal embossed on it. This way any certified copy holder will know that this is an official copy from the court.
Next, once a copy has been made available to this school you should get in contact with whomever handles the sending out of report cards and make sure that your name is on the list of approved people to receive grades for your child. The reality is that you may have simply not been on a list of your child’s guardians or parents. Therefore, the school never knew to send you a report card in the first place. An important concept to keep in mind is that it is likely your child’s Co-parent has been the one behind you not receiving report cards. This is not something that your child’s school played any direct role in.
Importantly, making sure that you are on the list of people to receive emergency updates about your child is important. This is true even if you are a parent who works out of town a lot and cannot conceivably get to the child’s school quickly. Even if that is the case you will still want to be made aware of any emergency events involving your child. You may either need to talk to your child’s school directly about this or you can Your information online if that is an option. The bottom line is that it will take some effort to do all of this, but the result will be that you can receive updates from your child’s school without much in the way of stress or time-consuming steps.
Once you can do all of these things, the last thing you should do is reach out to your child’s teachers to introduce yourself and ask to be updated with issues as they arise during the school year and for parent-teacher conferences. You can also ask for an opportunity to view your child’s schoolwork to that point so that you can ask questions and receive feedback on his or her performance to that point. Going through these steps can put you in a position where you can be just as knowledgeable as your co-parent when it comes to your child’s academic performance.
Changing your child’s school- can it be done?
One of the stressful parts about parenting a child when you are not that child’s primary conservator is that you may not be able to voice your opinion on matters related to that child’s education as frequently as you would like. One of the major areas where you may suffer is if your child’s co-parent would like to change your child’s school and move him or her somewhere else. There may be several legitimate reasons why he or she may want to do this. There could be a move involved, disciplinary issues, specific programs not available at the school but available elsewhere, and a host of other reasons why your co-parent may choose to move your child from one school to another. However, the question that we need to ask ourselves is whether he or she can do this considering your rights under a court order.
That is exactly where I would point you in this situation. You will want to review your court order to determine the specific rights you have regarding your child and the educational decisions made on their behalf. Much of the time, these educational decisions will be held in tandem with your co-parent. This means that he or she cannot make decisions regarding your child’s schooling without you being present. For example, if your co-parent has an idea to change your child’s school then in most cases you will need to be consulted with on this decision. The two of you should have an opportunity to voice your opinions about it and see if you can agree on whether to have your child go to a new school. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the move will not happen.
Otherwise, if you consent to the move and believe it to be in the best interest of your child then that move can occur without having to involve a court. on the other hand, if your co-parent decides to unilaterally move your child to a new school then you have the makings of a potential child custody enforcement case on your hands. You can file a motion with the court to make them aware of the violation of your court order by specifying exactly what your co-parent did in terms of deciding on your child’s education without consulting you first period if the judge agrees with you and finds that your co-parent acted inappropriately then you would be able to have him or her held in contempt and possibly be fined or otherwise punished for doing so.
What to do if you have a co-parent who is not following your court orders
If we are being honest with ourselves, many parents will push a court order to its absolute limit until and unless you finally hold him or her responsible for those violations. Many times, a primary conservator will take liberties with that court order to the extent that he or she can. If you know that your rights are being trampled upon by a co-parent, then it is up to you to try and hold him or her accountable. Remember that it is not just you who is being harmed by their bad actions but your child as well. He or she deserves to have you involved in their life. When your co-parent steps beyond the boundaries of a court order then your ability to factor into the life of your child is compromised.
An enforcement case is the most straightforward vehicle for holding your co-parent responsible for having violated a court order. However, enforcement cases tend to be complicated with a lot of moving pieces. There are several ways for you to pursue a child custody enforcement case. One of the biggest advantages that you can give yourself regarding this subject is to work with an experienced family law attorney. This will allow you to draft documents clearly, file them on time, serve your co-parent, and reach a fair conclusion as quickly as possible.
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