Heymann & Fletcher

Schools must be made aware of child custody order details

New Jersey parents who have been through divorce proceedings understand that court orders govern the untangling of their marriage. In addition to separating lives, many parents must sort out the details of court-ordered child custody terms with how they impact their daily lives and interactions with their children. The right family law attorney can assist a parent with understanding the details of court orders and paperwork that schools typically need to honor custody terms while a child is in a school's care.

School systems often struggle to follow the terms of child custody orders for students in their care. Courts typically do not provide orders or explanations of custody agreements to school systems, leaving the burden on the parents to ensure that school administrators are aware of the details of orders. Without out specific court orders banning a parent from access to a child's school records, most states adhere to the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act and must grant a parent access to records. In cases of established abuse, without a court order, schools are still required to provide records to parents, although they are legally allowed to withhold all personal information about the child and other parent.

Experts recommend that parents provide, on a yearly basis or as necessary, proof of custodial terms or orders that may restrain a parent from a child. If a court order has been provided to a school, and the school does not adhere to the order, the school can be liable for any breach.  Parents are also recommended to understand the specific details of their custody terms. In situations where a parent or both parents share legal custody, both parents can make decisions regarding medical care and education.

Unless otherwise ordered, both parents are supposed to be informed of any pertinent information about a student. Many schools assume that parents share all information regarding their children, but it is not always the case. Family law attorneys in New Jersey remain available for a parent for any conflict or confusion following child custody orders and the impact it has in relation to the child's education. 

Source: campussafetymagazine.com, "How Schools Should Protect Students from Child Custody Disputes", Amy Rock, April 23, 2018

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