School-Related Child Custody Issues

It is back-to-school time. If you are an unmarried, divorced, or divorcing parent, school-related issues can be one of the custody challenges facing you. If that is the case advice from a family law attorney will help you.

Below are the answers to frequently asked questions regarding California child custody laws.

Q. What does “legal custody” of a child mean?
A. Legal custody means the right to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, and welfare.

Q. Does “joint legal custody” of a child mean that the parents have to agree on every decision?
A. Joint legal custody means that the parents are to decide together the major decisions about the child’s education, health and welfare. Joint legal custody generally does not require the parents to agree on all decisions – either parent acting alone may exercise legal control of the child. However, communication between the parents is always encouraged to foster collaborative co-parenting and avoid disputes.

Q. Who has the right to access the child’s school records?
A. Under both federal and state law, every parent – regardless of custody – has the right to access his or her child’s school records, unless a court order specifies otherwise.

Q. Which parent can remove the child from class or visit at school?
A. Only a parent with legal and physical custody may remove the child from class or visit the child in school. Otherwise, the parent must seek consent of the other parent or a court order.

A family law attorney or mediator can help you draft a child custody plan/agreement, and include school related provisions. When parents cannot reach an agreement about the children or school related issues a family law attorney can represent you in family court to help guide and obtain the result needed for the best interest of your child.