Is it okay for a parent to volunteer in their child’s classroom outside their custody hours?
In the latest installment of Love Court on the Alice 96.5 Morning Show, here is the question directed at Jessica Anderson on the topic:
“I just settled my divorce. We agreed that I would have primary custody of my three daughters who are ages 2, 4, and 7. My ex-husband works nights, so he only has custody every other weekend. I just found out from their schools that he is trying to visit with them and volunteer in their classroom during my custodial time while I’m at work. Isn’t this a violation of the custody order?”
In this blog, we will discuss what the limits are in regard to custody and classroom participation of parents.
Is it a Custody Violation
In short, no, it isn’t. If the parent had tried to take the child out of school, that would have been a violation of the custody agreement. As the person mentioned, a family lawyer gave her primary custody–but the father also had custodial rights. So, as a custodial guardian, he is allowed to volunteer in the classroom or for extracurricular activities, go on field trips, and so on, any day–regardless of whether it’s “his” custodial time. There’s nothing wrong with a parent wanting to show up for their child and get involved in their school activities, even when it’s not “their day”.
A Word of Caution
It’s worth mentioning that your involvement in joint school activities really depends on the level of hostility between parents. While it’s great to both show up to soccer games and plays, keep some distance between you to avoid conflict, for the mental health of your children. On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to volunteer at the same time as your ex when the activity takes place in smaller spaces or involves close proximity–like a classroom setting. If your divorce was high-conflict, or you are hostile toward each other, don’t volunteer for the same timeframes.
Keep a Child-Centric Perspective
Child custody is perhaps the most significant subject in a divorce, and it should always be treated with the best interests of the child in mind. Ultimately, in all situations involving custody and parental involvement in your child’s life, think about it this way: it’s not “your” time with the child, it’s the child’s time with you! It’s so positive for parents to find a way to show up for their children, even with a high-conflict divorce. As I like to say, “you’ve got to love your child more than you hate your ex.” So in the sort of situation described by the parent above, let the other parent get involved in school activities and don’t see it as “their” time or “your” time. It’s the child’s time, and the father is showing up to be a part of it.
Parental involvement in your children’s lives after divorce, even with primary and scheduled custody, can be very positive. However, if you have any doubts about the rules and regulations concerning your particular child custody agreement, an attorney specializing in Family Law can help make sure everything is in order and clarify if something is not allowed. At the end of the day, you want what’s best for your children, and you want to make sure each parent is doing the right thing according to your divorce agreements.
Anderson Keuscher PLLC is a well-known Reno law practice that specializes in Family Law, Divorce Law, and property division. We realize how complicated and overwhelming it can be to go through parole or a custody fight. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle each matter with care and consideration. We assist our customers in navigating legal stumbling blocks and go above and beyond to defend their legal rights and financial interests.
Contact Anderson Keuscher PLLC if you are going through a custody dispute and need a dependable family attorney to look out for your best interests.