California Child Custody and Back to School Decisions

The academic school year is underway and the more relaxed summer routine is changing to reflect early school start times and after-school activities. For separated or divorced parents, this can be a difficult time.

In some circumstances, a joint custody arrangement or parenting schedule might start to break down as a young child reaches school age. An arrangement where a toddler easily traveled between households may become more difficult depending on the location of a school or evening activities.

Parents who may have just separated or are thinking about it must consider schooling issues for their children. While parents may not be able to plan when they separate, they must take into account what will be easiest for their child. If a child is already school age and accustomed to attending a particular school, it may not make sense to move the child to a new school.

As the school year starts, parents must quickly make decisions regarding what school a child will attend and where the child will live during the school week. Children will likely have a preference and can sometimes be brought into the discussion depending on their age. While making these decisions, it is necessary to keep the child's best interests at the forefront even through the emotions.

When a child custody arrangement negotiated before the child was school age breaks down, it might be necessary to seek a child custody modification. Under California law, a parent can request modification of a custody order. The court will review whether the requested modification is in the best interests of the child before issuing a modification order. In addition, the parent requesting the change may be required to show a change of circumstances.

Modifications can be difficult to obtain. An experienced divorce attorney can discuss avenues to resolve high conflict situations related to child custody and parenting schedules.

Source: Huffington Post, "Back To School Advice for Divorced Parents," Sheree Fletcher, Aug. 29, 2012.