back to school issues

Common Back-to-School Issues for Divorced and Single Parents

There are common back-to-school issues many divorced and single parents face as summer vacation comes to an end. Now that August is here and children and parents prepare for a new school year, there are a number of issues which arise in family law related matters. From school selection to parenting time schedules, last minute vacations and school supplies and uniform shopping, it’s an especially crazy time for blended families.

Here are some key things to remember as you and your child get ready for the back-to-school rush and related 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.

Any issue that does not qualify as an emergency must be agreed to for a Court to enter an order on any given matter that is not properly before it in a pending case. I have heard more times than I can count 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!”

Bringing an emergency of this nature is not likely to be looked upon happily by a Judge.

2. School Supplies – Who’s Going to Pay?

Each new school year comes brings with it a long list of school supplies that must be purchased. 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 specifically agree to it, or unless there is some sort of “catch-all” language regarding school expenses which includes it.

3. Avoid Tardies and School Absences at All Costs

If you are the residential parent for school purposes and your child is consistently late in arriving at school, the responsibility for excessive tardies will likely to fall on you. If the other parent brings a motion to Family Court concerning your child’s absences and/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.

4. First Day of School

For most parents and children, the first day of school can be charged with a mix of emotions. For students, the excitement of seeing old friends and meeting a new teacher helps them look forward to a new year. At the same time, its normal for them to be a bit nervous about starting the new school year. As parents, it can be a sentimental day that reminds you just how quickly they’re growing up. Make the first day of school less overwhelming for them by working together everyone can enjoy this special day.

Despite the disappointment that summer is over, the beginning of a new school year is an exciting time for kids and parents. When issues or questions arise regarding the allocation of parental responsibility, contact Anderson & Boback’s family law attorneys for legal advice and guidance you can trust.

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