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How can a custody order affect school-related activities?

With the end of summer came the start of a new school year for many children across Florida. But even though many parents rejoice the start of a new school because they finally have some extra time to themselves while their children are in class, divorced parents are sometimes less than thrilled for this time of the year.

That's because each school year often resurfaces a potentially problematic question regarding child custody and visitation orders. It's a question posed by this week's blog post and is one we hope to answer for our readers.

How can a custody order affect school-related activities?

Here in Florida, family law courts will generally try to order shared parental responsibilities between each parent. This means that each parent is responsible for making decisions concerning their child, which can include school-related matters. Only when the court determines that shared parenting time is detrimental to the child will the courts award custody and parental rights to one parent.

Even though parental responsibilities are usually shared, restrictions may still apply with court orders such as how often one parent is allowed to see the child each week. In cases where one parent has been given legal custody, the noncustodial parent may even be prohibited from attending school events or other school-related activities by the custodial parent.

As you can imagine, court ordered restrictions can create problems from school year to school year, especially if one parent is unhappy with the arrangement because it prevents them from witnessing some of their child's important life events. Even though modifications may be sought for a court order, some parents may not know that they can do this. They may instead choose to disobey an order and attend a school event or activity for their child.

Disobeying a custody order can have legal consequences though that may present problems to the culpable parent later on. It's a risky decision and one we do not advise our readers to make.

Source:, "Florida Statute 61.13 Support of children; parenting and time-sharing; powers of court," Accessed Sept. 9, 2014

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