By: Leslie Barrows
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Divorcing with Children 106: Back to School Conflict
Back to School Conflict in Divorce and Custody Cases
August and September are busy months in divorce and family law, and suits affecting the parent-child relationship. Kids going back to school can lead to disputes between soon to be ex-spouses. In a newly filed divorce, the school year might start before the parties have a chance to have their Temporary Orders Hearing. The Court’s Temporary Orders are used to determine where kids will live and go to school. Your divorce and child custody attorney may be able to help resolve preliminary issues like where the kids will go to school. Back to school conflict comes in many forms.
After a divorce, co-parents might also have issues about school decisions. Many co-parents are named joint managing conservators and have equal rights to certain decisions about the children, and one may be ordered the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence. A parent can file a modification case, asking the court to rule in their favor, considering the best interests of the child.
Which district is one conflict, and another is the choice of public, private, or a homeschool option. These disputes can arise when something different is happening in the school, or when the child is not progressing as expected. When behavior and performance are at issue, counselors, mental health professionals, and guardians ad litem are used to help the court resolve back to school conflict.
Call Leslie Barrows at the Barrows Firm in Southlake for back to school issues when divorcing with children. A mother of three school-aged boys, Leslie is involved in community schools and appreciates parents’ concerns about the best interests of their children. Call Leslie at (817) 481-1583.
Which Parent Has Exclusive Rights to Designate the Child’s Primary Residence?
Determining which parents can determine where a child will live and go to school is a common dispute in divorce. Especially here in Tarrant and Denton Counties, it is easy to find parents living in different school districts and in different counties. The Court considers factors and the situation of the child and their parents. Issues involving conservatorship and possession and access (otherwise called custody and visitation).
One of the conservators is designated with the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the child. Every divorce and custody case is unique. The Courts hear arguments from the parties about several factors that can be weighed in making its determination. Factors include the age, developmental status, needs, and best interests of the child. The circumstances of the managing conservator and parent named possessory conservator may also be considered along with other factors.
Where parents live 100 apart from one another, there are additional details in the Family Code regarding rights of conservators.
You might also like our recent blog article, Divorcing with Children 103: 50/50 Equal Access Possession Schedules.
Disputes About Where Will Kids Go to School
Parents want the best educational experiences and opportunities for their children. The development of children, the quality of their education and extracurricular opportunities are top priorities for parents. When one parent has issues with the in-district school where the primary parent and child reside can become the center of disagreement. For example, there could be performance or behavior issues at school. Those issues can lead to modification cases and litigation.
During the original divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship, there may be disputes over conservatorship as it matters to school choice. These issues can involve what type of school the parents want the children to attend. Where public versus private school choices has been common for years, conflict over homeschooling may also be at issue.
Read Kids, Divorce, and School Success for some tips to keep the focus on the kids and leave egos at the door.
You might also like, How Does Changing Schools Affect Children?
Resolving Back to School Conflict Before or Early in the School Year
Whether during your original divorce case or you are in a post-decree modification suit, the Court will hear arguments and evidence about school issues and what would be in the best interests of the child. If a dispute arises, it is a good idea to bring it to a mediator or to the court before or very early in the school year.
Weighing the arguments for where the child should go to school, the best interests of the child may also value the status quo and avoiding disruption. Kids do well when they have safety and stability. Being bounced all over school districts and among public and private schools can be more disruptive than helpful.
What is in the Best Interests of the Child?
Courts use the best interests of the child factors and standard when making decisions in divorce and family law cases involving child custody. These factors focus on a safe environment for a child. Anything that may threaten a child’s safe environment can be used to argue for a modification case.
Assisting the court in making determinations may be court-appointed evaluators, guardians ad litem and psychological experts. The hearings and court trials involved in litigating parenting issues such as school choice can be significant. Witnesses and evidence are organized and offered to prove allegations involving children, residential and school issues.
Call Leslie Barrows for Advice About Back to School Conflict (817) 481-1583
If back to school brings up issues involving your divorce or children, call the Barrows Firm in Southlake. Make an appointment to talk to attorney Leslie Barrows to learn your rights and options in divorce and custody cases. Whether you need to file for divorce or need a modification of your current divorce decree and parenting plan, the Barrows Firm attorneys, paralegals and support staff are there to help. Get ahead of back to school conflict with the help of the Barrows Firm.