Think back to your days in elementary or middle school. Whether you went to school on Long Island, NY or not, aside from your friends, what likely comes to mind are signed permission slips for field trips, leaving school early for doctors’ appointments, and even (maybe) the dreaded calls home from the principal’s office. These things are exciting and scary for school age children, and those emotions are intensified if the child’s parents are divorced.
Naturally, while going through a divorce, the issue of whether you or your partner will sign your children’s field trip permission slips is probably not at the forefront of things you feel need to be resolved, but it is important you discuss such matters and include it in your divorce settlement so disputes do not arise later when they can negatively affect your child.
What Can We Do to Avoid Conflicts Over our Children’s Education Going Forward?
First and foremost, it is important that you sit down with your divorce attorney, either with or without your partner, to ensure that you are aware of all the possible challenges that lie ahead. The following, although not exclusive or comprehensive, are a few examples of issues that may arise in regards to the education of your children. They will probably suggest other ideas along the same lines.
- Who will sign your children’s permission slips? This is especially important if you have grade school age children, as they are most likely to go on field trips requiring permission slips. Will it be the custodial parent? Does the non-custodial parent have any say? If you agree as to how this will be handled in your divorce agreement, it will avoid future stress when your children come home with a permission slip for the planetarium.
- Who will take the children to and from school? This may not be relevant to you and your partner if your residences are not within close distance, but at times, one parent will move out of the marital residence only to live a few blocks away. Under these circumstances, both parents may want to spend the extra time with their children by taking them to school. This can be arranged simply by noting in the divorce agreement that transportation to and from school will be the responsibility of the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent when the children have their visits. On the other hand, you may wish to agree that the custodial parent will transport the children when they are visiting the non-custodial parent, and vice versa. Because no two situations are alike, this is a completely personal decision.
- What school district will the children attend? If you and your ex-spouse live close to each other, but not in the same school district, this is an extremely important decision. While your children likely will not want to switch schools, if the custodial parent is forced to relocate out of the marital residence, this may be necessary. Be sure to discuss the laws relevant to residency for enrollment in a specific school district with your divorce attorney.
- If the children need to leave school early, who will be called? Again, this is something that should be discussed with your partner and noted in the divorce agreement. Emergencies arise when children are at school, especially when they are young, and you do not want your child to be caught in the middle while they are sick and waiting to be taken home. Decide beforehand to whom the school nurse will address her/his call when your child comes down with a stomach virus on a Tuesday at 1pm.
- Once the children get older, who will the school contact regarding placement in special AP or college credit courses? Again, this is something you may not be thinking of while in the midst of the divorce process. However, seven years down the line when your child comes home requesting to be enrolled in the $300 a semester college English course, you need to know if you can make this decision on your own or if you need to consult your ex-spouse.
A divorce is a difficult time in the lives of each and every family member, not just the couple splitting up. It is commonplace that seemingly insignificant things are overlooked while you and your partner are debating who gets to keep the marital residence and who gets physical custody of your children. While the aforementioned child issues are important matters, they may not be relevant your individual situation or they may be critical issues. Be sure to discuss with your divorce attorney other possible disagreements that may arise surrounding your children’s education so you will know the solution before the problem arises,
Need Help? Contact the Compassionate Divorce Lawyers at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
The highly trained Long Island divorce attorneys at Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC are very experienced in the many issues that may arise with regard to child custody and other matters related to child-rearing after your divorce. These compassionate and caring divorce lawyers have proven time and again that creative solutions to complex child-related issues are often the best tool to keeping both parents and child happy and healthy. For more information or a free consultation, please contact us at 631-923-1910. You’ll be glad you did.