PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES IN SCHOOLS
Child custody issues do not arise only in the home or when the parents exchange custody of their children. They can happen anywhere, including in the school of the children involved. That is why schools need to be prepared for such disputes to boil over and happen in the school buildings. Schools need to have plans in place for teachers and staff to follow should a child custody dispute occur on their grounds.
Schools need to have a procedure in place regarding the child’s school records. Schools cannot deny access to a child’s records if a non-custodial parent asks unless there is a court order that says access is not allowed. Schools should not simply take the word of the custodial parent. Documentation is very important.
Schools should inform all parents that child custody legal documents should be submitted at the beginning of every school year, even if they haven’t changed from the previous school year. Whenever there is a change to the document, the parent should submit the change to the school. This will help the school deal with custody issues and prevent non-custodial parents who are not supposed to have contact with their child from doing so.
Teachers and staff members should also be taught the differences between physical and legal custody. When a parent has physical custody he or she lives with the child. Legal custody means the parent is allowed to make decisions about the child’s life.
Child custody disputes can be difficult for all involved. It can become even more difficult to handle when a dispute happens at the child’s school in California. Be sure you know the school’s procedures for exchanging custody prior to doing so for the first time.
Source: Campus Safety Magazine, “How Schools Should Protect Students from Child Custody Disputes,” April 23, 2018