School bells will soon be ringing in Texas leading to anticipation for students and parents. For divorced or divorcing parents, the Texas Family Code references school repeatedly in regard to both parenting rights and parenting time.
The Texas standard possession order references weekends, holidays, and pick up and return times for possession in terms of when school dismisses or resumes. The family code also provides that parents at all times have the right to be informed and to confer with the other parent regarding the children’s educational decisions, to consult with school officials, to attend school activities, and to be named as an emergency contact for their children.
With that in mind, here are some ABCs for back to school:
Advance Planning: Access the school calendar online and enter on your own calendar the dates and times of school holidays, early dismissal days, etc. This will help avoid confusion and stress on both the parent and the children in regard to pick up and return for parenting time.
Be Involved: As discussed above, the Texas Family Code ensures that parents can be involved in their children’s education, but it is up to the parent to do so. Most school districts now have online portals for accessing information regarding the children’s grades and activities. Some include the opportunity for online communication with the teacher. In addition, there are other opportunities to be involved, such as Meet the Teacher Day, Parent-Teacher conferences, Donuts with Dad, PTA/PTO, etc.
Cooperation: Even with all the planning in the world, expect the unexpected. For example, a child may get sick and need to be picked up from school—and a parent may have to reach out to the other parent to pick up the child. Communication and cooperation between the parents is essential to the shared goal of giving their children the best educational experience possible.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and successful 2016-2017 school year!