As we approach the end of August and the beginning of another school year there are many issues which arise in family law related matters. From school selection to parenting time schedules, last minute vacations and school supply/uniform shopping, it is a crazy time for blended families. Here are some key things to remember as school resumes and issues to avoid in Family Court: (1) Choice of school is NOT an emergency. Perhaps you have wanted to change your child’s school for some time, and the other parent won’t agree. This is not an emergency. Issues that are not emergencies must be agreed in order for a Court to enter an order on any given matter that is not properly before it or an emergency scenario. I have heard more Judges say to litigants and their attorneys that they have “known school starts in August or September all year long – it starts in these months every year, it isn’t an emergency” than I can count! Bringing an emergency on this is not likely to be looked upon happily by a Judge. (2) School supplies – who pays for them? Some parents agree to split school supplies out of the goodness of their hearts. However, most parenting agreements don’t provide for this unless the parties agree to it, or unless there is some sort of catch all language regarding school expenses which include it. (3) Avoid tardies and absences at all costs! If you are the residential parent for school purposes and your child is consistently late, that is likely to fall on you as the residential parent. If the other parent brings a motion concerned about absences or tardies, that, coupled with poor academic performance may be grounds to make some changes to the current arrangement. Likewise, if you are not the residential parent for school purposes and you have the minor child overnight and they arrive late, or are absent, or don’t complete assignments, that, too, can cause some changes to the current arrangement.
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