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School Drama & Custody

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi Mamas~
I haven't ever posted on this board before, as I am not in this type of situation...but there is an "event" talking place in my family & I had some Q's I hope you all didn't mind answering!!
Here's the senerio~
2 people have joint LEGAL custody of a child.
1 has sole PHYSICAL custody.
My Q is: What would be the rights of the party NOT HAVING PHYSICAL CUST. to get report cards & to have contact w/ the child's school??
Any ideas or experiance with this??
Or any other tips on "school harmony??"
Thanks in advance!!!!

~Marie
post #2 of 18
The non-custodial parent has a right to be in on every decision involving the child - everything. The custodial parent should make sure the custodial parent sees report cards and is consulted when scheduling parent-teacher conferences.

ETA: In addition to the above, the non-custodial parent has a right to be kept informed of all school happenings - performances, assemblies, field trips, etc. In fact, my DH is on the list of volunteer chaperones for DSS's field trips and we are non-custodial.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by djs_girl517
The non-custodial parent has a right to be in on every decision involving the child - everything. The custodial parent should make sure the custodial parent sees report cards and is consulted when scheduling parent-teacher conferences.

ETA: In addition to the above, the non-custodial parent has a right to be kept informed of all school happenings - performances, assemblies, field trips, etc. In fact, my DH is on the list of volunteer chaperones for DSS's field trips and we are non-custodial.
ITA! Why wouldn't the non-custodial be allowed to get report cards or contact the school etc? Most teachers would even do seperate parent/teacher conferences for divorced folks if they can't agree on a time/date...

The non-custodial in your situation is obviously somewhat involved if there's joint legal custody. This person HAS a say in his/her child's life and especially education. The custodial and non-custodial should work together regarding the child's education.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input!!
So, what would you advise if there's a clash?? Such as a child's needing special services...I am hoping this isn't something that has to go to court EVERY stinking time there's an issue.
It may also be relevent to point out that the non-custodial party lives in another state and has NO visitation rights. (Yes, I realize that's very odd w/ the JLC & all...but that's just the way it is for some reason.)
Thanks!!
Also, I have limited knowledge here, admittedly, as I am requesting info. for a family member.
post #5 of 18
If the two adult parties cannot agree on anything or be civil, then yeah I'd just go through court or mediation.

A child needing special services, do you mean that one parent wants the services and the other does not? Perhaps a doctor or therpaist etc (depending on the issue) could help out with that...? As in, have it said that the child NEEDS X care, etc...?

I dunno..lol Forgive me for sounding 'off' today
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomBirthmomStepmom
If the two adult parties cannot agree on anything or be civil, then yeah I'd just go through court or mediation.
:
post #7 of 18
I don't post on this board but wanted to add that if you're going to court to get any updates on school related matters (special ed, copies of report cards, etc.) and if it's not already spelled out in the custody agreement, be sure to include how any tickets to graduations will be split. Last year, there was a HUGE dust up because mom had physical custody, and the school sent all the tickets for graduation to her (4). So she, her h and parents (child's maternal grandparents) got the tickets, and dad got nothing. When he called the school, they said it was a matter between the parents, and no family could have more tickets, even if they were divorced. Not sure how old the kiddos are in your situation, but something to keep in mind.
post #8 of 18
Just wanted to add, that we had issues when biomom lived far away. They had join legal, but my dh has sole physical. Yes, the mom had the right to all the report cards, etc, but it wasn't our job to send them to her (well, that's what our lawyer brought up and hers finally agreed.) She has the right to call the school and request a parent conference any old time she wants, she can get copies of report cards, she can talk to the teacher herself. The non-custodial parent has the right to do all these things herself without involving the custodial parent.

And, as a teacher, I have to give all info. to all parents unless there is a restraining order on file at the school, regardless of the wishes of one of the parents.
post #9 of 18
We do what Flor does.

The NC parents have complete access to our kids schools - we give them the teachers name, classroom, etc, and its up to them to maintain contact regarding appts, etc.

We do mention at the beginning of the school year that another parent will be calling (to give them the heads up) but after that, we leave it up to them. The only exception is xmas concerts. We make sure we have enough tickets for all parents involved (we think its too much to ask of the school).

From what I understand, as a legal joint parent, you have every right to call the school directly and ask for progess reports; meetings and making sure you are on contact info sheet at school (and I'm pretty sure they have to give it to you, at least in my city). For example; dh and I have physical custody of both sides of kids. At the school contact sheet, its me first; dh second than NC parent 3rd.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
post #10 of 18
I agree that it's pretty across the board that a non-custodial parent has a right ot request and recieve infomation from the school.

But I think the OP is also asking does that non-custodial parent also have a right to make decisions regarding special services? I think the answer to that one is, no. I am pretty sure the custodial parent is the one charged with making decisions. Meaning, if the custodial parent chooses option A, and non-custodial parent disagrees and wants option B, it doesn't matter and the custodial parent's choice is the one that the school is obligated to honor. Might vary state to state, but I'm pretty sure that's the way it goes for most.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameg
But I think the OP is also asking does that non-custodial parent also have a right to make decisions regarding special services? I think the answer to that one is, no. I am pretty sure the custodial parent is the one charged with making decisions. Meaning, if the custodial parent chooses option A, and non-custodial parent disagrees and wants option B, it doesn't matter and the custodial parent's choice is the one that the school is obligated to honor. Might vary state to state, but I'm pretty sure that's the way it goes for most.
This is incorrect. When there is joint LEGAL custody, the custodial parent is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to discuss these things with the non-custodial parent.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by djs_girl517
This is incorrect. When there is joint LEGAL custody, the custodial parent is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to discuss these things with the non-custodial parent.
But even if they are obligted to discuss, who gets final say in the decision?

These things are so shamefully confusing. It's no wonder the attorneys are the only one's who end up "winning" - $$$$$. :
post #13 of 18
For our agreements we had it put in that we, the physical custodial parent has the final say BUT, we had to notify and give suffient notice, chance for other parent to have say, etc.
And being the type of people we are, we do that anyway. For example, my ds has behavioural issues and it was time to medicate. (yes, we went thru diet, therapy, etc first) My ex didnt want him on meds, we and his dr's did. We had him speak to the dr's to answer questions, we made sure he was involved. It really helped him to understand why this was the course of action.

But enough about me, in the end one parent does need to have the final say, but I hope that C parents are involving NC regarding these matters. (and NC are being involved).

So in this case, the only thing I can say is the NC has a right to be involved and included. If NC arent reaching out, then by all means, call school and speak to special services directly. Find out why.

Good luck!
post #14 of 18
Even a parent who doesn't have joint legal custody, so long as they havn't had thier parent terminated or the courts haven't specifically prohibited it, have the legal right to all information about thier child from the school and doctors. They don't have the right to change things like the legal custodial parent has (they can't change the child's classroom say) but they have the right to the information.

The school district's lawyer can help you sort this out quickly if you are having problems.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies!! One other Q~
Is it the SCHOOL or the CP who must send the report cards, etc??
Just trying to get some basic info. here - you all seem so wise on these matters!!
THANKS!!
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm
Thanks for the replies!! One other Q~
Is it the SCHOOL or the CP who must send the report cards, etc??
Just trying to get some basic info. here - you all seem so wise on these matters!!
THANKS!!

If requested by the NCP, and they provide a copy of the divorce decree and parenting plan showing that the parent does not have an expressed prohibition to the info (and the custodial parent hasn't provided something that postdates what the NCP provides showing that htey aren't allowed the info) , then the school has to send the info. Often a school will request that you send pre-addressed and stamped envelopes to defray costs associated with mailing the info. It would be kind if the custodial parent would send the info but often times they won't/don't.

You could find more info on the topic here:http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/reportcards.php

edited to add that I personally think it is a moral if not legal obligation of a custodial parent to keep the non custodial parent in the loop on all matters related to their child, however this sometimes doesn't happen. I also think that the ncp has a similar moral obligation to activily seek this info out and not depend on a the cp to force feed them everything. If you aren't getting the info you can't throw up your hands and blame the CP...go get the info if you want it!
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamameg
But even if they are obligted to discuss, who gets final say in the decision?
sometimes this is laid out in the decree in cases of joint legal custody (in cases where one parent has primary legal custody they have the final say period) If it is not then you have to go back to court but generally when this kind of thing comes to the court the court will give the primary residential parent final say. I have seen where different decisions were divied up when there was 50/50 physical custody and joint legal so that mom had final say in school and dad had final say in medical or something of the like.

Generally if both parents can't agree then the courts will remove joint custody and award primary legal custody to one parent (whomever is seen as most cooperative) so it is in everyone's best interest to try to agree.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm
Thanks for the replies!! One other Q~
Is it the SCHOOL or the CP who must send the report cards, etc??
Just trying to get some basic info. here - you all seem so wise on these matters!!
THANKS!!
I was interning in a school last semester and there were about 1/3 of the kids who's parents were separated (2nd grade class). Of those kids, there were 3 who received duplicates of everything that was sent home- one set for each parent. It was b/c of bad divorces. So, the school was giving 2nd graders 2 copies of everything and putting the responsibility on the child to make sure the parents got what they were supposed to.

If you ask, the school should be able to create 2 copies, and possibly even mail them, but I don't think they're obligated.
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