Should My Child’s School Follow Our Custody Order?

school, custody, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyThe education of your child is likely among your most important priorities. You want your child to learn and obtain the skills necessary for success in today’s world. Like most high-priority issues, however, a child’s education is not without its share of complications. This is especially true if you are not married to your child’s other parent and, together, you are subject to a child custody order. You may wonder, like many parents, what role your child’s school is expected to play in enforcing your custody order.

Custody Basics

In Illinois, child custody may be granted in two basic ways, based on the consideration of the entire situation and the child’s best interest. In some cases, a court may determine that the child would be best suited by the granting of sole legal custody to one parent, while the other parent retains visitation rights. In other cases, joint legal custody may be more appropriate, requiring the parents to each take responsibility in decision-making for the child. Typically, both types of custody arrangements will establish some sort of schedule for the child to spend time with each parent.

Concerns for the School

Most joint custody orders establish one parent as the primary residential parent for the purposes of maintaining a permanent address and enrollment in school. Upon enrollment, it is wise to provide the school with a copy of your custody order, but keep your expectations to a minimum. While many schools try to keep abreast of their students’ family situations, they are often somewhat limited in their ability to enforce any type of custody order.

Depending on your situation, individual teachers may be made aware that only Mom, for example, should be signing permission slips or that both parents will be helping with homework. However, the school administration is responsible for hundreds of children each day yet, in many cases, will work to cooperate with your order. However, it may be very challenging for the school to get involved in more complex questions over pick-up and drop-off schedules, absent a court order or a clear necessity to protect the child. Day-to-day considerations should normally be handled between the parents, and may be taken before the court, if necessary, to enforce an existing order or to seek a modification.

It is also important to note that many schools have developed their own policies for dealing with child custody issues. More information regarding individual school policies can usually be obtained by contacting the school office.

School Records

Illinois law regarding child custody specifies that neither parent should be denied access to a child’s school records on the grounds that they are not the custodial parent. Each parent’s rights remain intact, regardless of custody status, unless restricted or terminated by a court action.

If you have a school-aged child and the other parent is not complying with your established custody order, a qualified lawyer can provide the assistance you need. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney today to schedule a free initial consultation. We will review your case and help you take the necessary steps in securing your rights as a parent.

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