Helping you cross the

legal finish line

When child custody issues intersect with your child’s education

If your 2023 summer break included filing for a divorce, you might be one of many Michigan parents who are navigating their first school year following dissolution of a marriage. Since all good parents want what is best for their children, it’s beneficial to inform school administrators, teachers, coaches, etc., about a divorce. At times, child custody issues may arise where additional support is necessary.  

Keep in mind that school officials are not law enforcement officers nor are they representatives of the family court system. However, teachers and other school officials must report certain things or act in certain circumstances. For example, if your ex shows up at school to get your kids and the school is aware of a court order prohibiting him or her from contacting the children, they will deny access to your children. 

Avoid child custody issues if you share custody with your ex after divorce 

If you and your ex have agreed to share physical and legal custody of your children, you’ll want to take steps at their school to support your arrangement. For instance, on your children’s emergency forms, submit both parents’ contact information rather than just one, as you might if one or the other parent were to have sole legal custody. 

If disputes arise regarding school issues and parenting decisions 

The school’s job is to teach your children and help them achieve their full potential as students. Teachers, coaches and guidance counselors, as well as administrators, are there to assist you but are not responsible for your child custody decisions. If one parent is saying one thing and the other is telling teachers something different, problems can arise, not only for your kids but from a legal perspective as well.  

It’s best to try to iron out all your differences ahead of time and to write out detailed terms of agreement. If school officials have informed you that incidents have occurred that appear to violate the court order you told them about, you can bring the issue to the court’s attention. Sometimes, litigation is necessary to resolve a child custody dispute.  

What’s most important is your children’s well-being 

Divorce creates disruption in children’s lives. When parents can work together and compromise as needed, they typically find that their kids are adaptable and can transition to a new lifestyle with minimal stress. If this has not been your experience, and you’ve encountered serious legal problems regarding child custody issues, first know you are not alone in your struggle as many Michigan parents have endured similar situations. Also, do not hesitate to tap into local resources for guidance and support to help your family cope and move forward in life.