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Changing Child Custody During the School Year

There are all kinds of child custody issues that could arise during the school year. What if one parent is moving out of state? Maybe a previous custody agreement is being modified, going from one parent having full custody to sharing custody. And if each parent lives in a different school district, how do you determine which school the child goes to? Maybe the child needs to transfer to a school out of either parent’s district.

Child custody issues can be complicated even before taking school into account. So here’s what you need to know about changing a child custody arrangement during the school year.

Consistency Is Key

No matter what your existing relationship with your ex is currently, or what the previous custody arrangement entailed, any new child custody agreement should provide as much consistency throughout the school year as possible. Creating a plan that outlines where the child is staying during the week and on weekends and where he or she should go every day after school is essential, and sticking to that plan is just as important.

While this may be difficult with a 50-50 custody arrangement, you’ll need to make it work. A consistent schedule will provide stability for your child, create reasonable expectations for you and your ex, and allow everyone — family, friends, and school administrators — to know where the child should be at all times. And switching up your child’s itinerary from week to week will only bring more confusion into an already complex situation.

On the Same Page for Holidays

Now that you’ve agreed on a day-to-day school schedule, what happens when the days off start coming up? Holidays can be one of the biggest stressors for divorced parents, and can introduce a lot of uncertainty into even the best laid child custody plans.

You may want to have specific provisions in your parenting agreement that require both parents to provide notice if they plan on taking the child out of town during the school year. And the earlier you have a plan in place for all the school holidays, the easier it will be for both parents to follow and the less stress it will create as those holidays begin to roll around.

Of course, talking about the perfect child custody agreement and putting an actual plan in place (or changing one) are two different things. If you’re trying to change a child custody agreement during the school year, an experienced custody attorney can help.

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