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Family Law

Why School Matters in Your Custody Agreement

Taly Thiessen
Why School Matters in Your Custody Agreement

Making a joint custody visitation schedule work

A divorce has the tendency to bring out the worst in people, especially when kids are involved. But after all the fighting and financial disagreements, there’s often one commonality left on the table for all parties — what’s best for the children — the state of Texas included.

Where this gets tricky: what’s best for the kids isn’t something that’s easy to agree on (surprise, surprise). Toss in going back to school, and a joint custody visitation schedule can go haywire.

Assuming both parents are fit guardians, one of the most important deciding factors for primary custody would be the children’s school preference and parents’ proximity. But how are such agreements reached? Get the answers any divorced or soon-to-be-divorced parent needs to know.

How the game plan gets settled

Crucial to any transition for the parents and children alike is, of course, a plan. A clear parenting plan goes a long way to clear up the natural stresses of ambiguity. Further, making a clear parenting plan can make a joint custody visitation schedule much easier. It can also help smooth out your children’s expectations for visitation schedule, especially in the initial exchanges when it’s a difficult adjustment for the entire family.

Joint custody decision making may seem complicated, but often finds roots in the child’s best interest. The court bases their decision on which parent’s residence has the least potential to disrupt the child’s education — geography plays a major role here.

For instance, although both you and your ex-spouse are living comfortably with housing accommodations that’s spacious, if you ex lives father away from the child's school, that long distance to and from school could affect the visitation order that you elect.

It's important to note that school district distinction matters in orders even where the child is not yet school age. Meaning, even if a child isn't old enough to go to school, the parents still follow the school district's spring break, holiday schedule, and other dates as the school district for which they are zoned.

Back to school: joint custody and quality time with your children

During the school year, it is in everyone’s best interests to plan ahead, especially as things change. A joint custody visitation schedule can get tricky with band practice, the science fair, or junior honors society. Your child’s bus route may experience a shift or extracurricular activities may involve travel to a different part of town.

When it comes time for recitals, sports games and parent-teacher sessions, it helps to figure out how comfortable you and your ex-spouse are attending these events at the same time. Otherwise, coordinating with your ex to alternate attendance so that both are there a fair amount of time for the kids would be wise.

Summer vacations and holidays offer opportunities for extended visitation schedules, allowing the parent with secondary custody to make up for lost time. It’s helpful for both parents to communicate their travel intentions in advance to avoid conflict. Most importantly, be wary of planning vacations around any geographical stipulations agreed upon during divorce. These agreements could later be renegotiated with the help of an experienced family law attorney.

Where a strong defense helps

The courts may put your child’s best interest first, but making sure they see understand your full picture requires quality defense on your side. For representation that’s equal parts thoughtful and aggressive, turn to Taly Thiessen, the family attorney in Houston and our Thiessen Law Firm to fight for you and your family during the custody battle. We take the time to get to know you and your case, and it all starts with an initial consultation. Contact us today to get your custody battle off to a winning start.

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