As students return to school across North Carolina, parents should review their Child Custody Order or Child Custody Agreement, many of which are impacted by the school year and summer break and control each parent’s rights and during each time.
Many child custody schedules include specific times for each custody exchange and often there is a different time or place to exchange when school is in session versus when school is on summer break. For example, your child custody schedule may say that when school is in session, one parent has the child until “school resumes on Monday” while the other parent’s time begins “when school releases on Monday”. In this scenario, one parent drops the child off at school and the other picks the child up from school. During the summer, this schedule may state that parents exchange the child at 8:00 a.m. each Monday.
What happens if your Child Custody Order or Child Custody Agreement does not include a custody exchange time or location when the child is not in school?
We regularly see fights between parents that do not have a Child Custody Order or Child Custody Agreement that details when and where the custody exchange takes place if school is not in session during the school year. For example, if there is a teacher workday on Monday when the parents usually exchange the child at school by “drop off” and “pick up”, the parents have no guidance on when and where the exchange takes place if the schedule is silent on that issue. One parent may want to exchange in the morning, the other in the afternoon. One parent may want to meet at a location on the way to work to exchange, the other may want the child brought to his/her house.
If you have argued with your child’s parent about these exchanges or if your Child Custody Order or Child Custody Agreement does not include this vital provision detailing these exchanges, you may consider amending your current custody arrangement to specify your desired schedule and to prevent future arguments and disputes.
Another important back to school consideration is the duty of sharing information about the child’s education. Most, but not all, Child Custody Orders or Child Custody Agreements detail each parent’s access to the child’s educational records and how each is to be informed about school. If your custody arrangement requires one parent to share school information with the other, now is a good time to transmit that information and to calendar updates moving forward throughout the school year.
Reviewing the terms of your Custody Order doesn’t just make sure you are compliant—it can also be a helpful exercise to figure out if there are any areas that need fine tuning to your particular family situation. To speak with someone about Child Custody arrangement or about how to make changes to that arrangement, please call us at (704) 810-1400 to schedule a consultation.