Children Adjusting to School

Children Adjusting to School: Looking Out for the Child's Best Interests and Co-Parenting.
Children Adjusting to School: Looking Out for the Child’s Best Interests and Co-Parenting.

Factors Affecting Children Adjusting to School

Divorced parents with a duty to cooperate with one another about their children’s education and school experience may find that there are issues arising over children adjusting to school. Whether it is a new school year, classmates and teacher, or a new middle or high school, transition can be difficult.

If your child’s school called you, would you talk to their other parent, and if so, how soon? Just because one parent is the primary daily caregiver does not mean that the other parent is not equally as important in their child’s life and education. The competition to get into good schools is tighter than ever and every step in your child’s school experience and records is important. If you have a positive co-parenting relationship with the other parent, it may be a good idea for both of you to participate in any conferences with the school and with the child. Showing solidarity and a lack of tolerance for negative behavior can make the right impact on a child. Keeping the communication lines open also allows for you and the other parent to keep up with your child’s behavior and demeanor when the other parent has their time with the child.

Is the Problem Something at School or at Home?

As parents it is easier to point the finger at another than at ourselves. When the school calls and says our child is having problems and not responding normally it is easy for us to assume the new teacher or kids in class are the problem. While sometimes it is someone else that is affecting your child, the someone else could be someone you did not expect.

Imagine that you have been fortunate that co-parenting your child has been a positive experience, for the most part. Now your ex-spouse has a new significant other and recently your child has been getting into trouble at school or has changed direction in their attitude towards studying and homework. When the student who normally receives good reports from school is now failing to complete assignments and turn work in on time, might be making a cry for attention or more.

Taking Care in Making Substantial Changes

Where in many cases an adjustment problem at school can be about normal growth and maturity or a response to factors in or out of school, attention to the child’s needs can be what it takes to cure the adjustment problem. Be cautious about making serious changes to the routine of a child and their base of friends and culture. Of course, if there is a risk of harm to the child or a significant impairment to their ability to function and learn at school, there may good cause to make a change. Whenever possible, discussing these issues as adults with the other parent is helpful in solving problems or agreeing to make reasonable changes.

In Wichita Falls area divorce and family law cases, attorney Richard T. Sutherland is focused on best interests of children and has worked in many capacities representing children’s best interests in court. If you need to make a custody change or are considering moving because of issues with children adjusting to school, you can call Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls to discuss your rights and options. Call (940) 691-2100 or Contact Us through our website.

Child custody issues in a Texas divorce

Child custody issues can be challenging and complex. Children only have one chance to be kids and grow up with a bright future ahead of them. Nurturing their growth and development is important and parents in divorce fear a disruption in their children’s lives. The Texas Family Code and courts are focused on the best interests of children and assurances they may grow up in stable and supportive environments.

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Where will the children live during the divorce?

Not long after a new divorce case is filed, the court will conduct the temporary orders hearing to make initial determinations about where the children will live, which parent may remain in the marital home and how certain finances will be handled. The judge will generally seek to assure a status quo in children’s lives during divorce and keep them their familiar home, school and community. The court considers a variety of factors in the best interests of the children.

If the parents can agree on who will live in the marital home with the children, then the judge will not need to make that decision at the temporary orders hearing, a decision that can be in place for up to a year or more until the divorce is settled by agreement or through a divorce trial.

What is joint managing conservatorship?

In Texas, custody is called conservatorship and there is a presumption that both parents should be joint managing conservators. However, if there are issues involving family violence, drug or alcohol abuse or that which threatens children’s health, safety or wellbeing, one parent may be designated as the sole managing conservator.

A parent with joint managing conservatorship has the authority to make decisions for a child about where they will live and go to school, religious training, medical and dental needs and everything else that goes along with daily living.

How is possession and access determined?

In Texas, visitation is referred to as possession and access to the child. The parents can agree to their own schedule of where the children will be and with which parent, or the court can use a standard possession order at the initial temporary orders hearing. The standard order gives what we may call the non-custodial parent possession and access for a few hours on Thursday evenings, and during the first, third and fifth weekends of the month, alternating holidays and for a month during the summer.

Possession refers to your time with the child in person and your right to have the child with you wherever you may be. Access, however refers to your right to contact your child by phone, text, social media and so forth. You also have access to attend school activities and have access to school and healthcare records.

For information about Texas divorce and family law please call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas by dialing (940) 691-2100.

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