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School year poses child custody challenges for divorced parents

With the new school year arriving, Birmingham parents and children will once again find their days and nights quite busy. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in the homes of divorced parents, who have to juggle drop off and pick up times, in addition to helping with homework and keeping up the home.

While the school year may be both exciting and dreadful for kids, it can also present a share of child custody issues for divorced parents. Take the drop offs and pickups, for example, where child custody swaps can pose problems if the exchange of physical custody is done at school. In situations where such swaps are emotional, it may be better to conduct the exchange at a neutral location.

If one parent is responsible for picking up a child from school, both parents need to be on the same page so they understand the operating schedule. In addition, the school should have the proper information concerning the child’s primary physical residence as well as contact information for both parents and information concerning the parents’ pick up schedule.

The schedule should include more than just pickups and drop offs, as parents should map out their child’s school year to be aware of all conferences, school breaks and early release days. All of these events can impact a visitation schedule, and these events can ignite a custody dispute among parents. For instance, if one parent is not made aware of a parent-teacher conference, the parent may be upset that he or she is being left out of the decision-making process and not getting needed information about his or her child.

If left unchecked, custody disputes can impact a divorce settlement. In addition, a child’s enjoyment of school may be negatively impacted. Given the sensitive issues involved, parents should be sure their custody arrangement sets out school matters with specificity, and work with an attorney should disputes arise.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorcing Parents: 5 Tips for a Successful School Year,” Bari Zell Weinberger, Aug. 28, 2012