School either has started or will soon start in Central Virginia and, if you and your spouse divorced over the summer, or if you and your ex-spouse or the father or mother of your child modified your custody and visitation order over the summer, it is very important that you share a copy of the custody and visitation order with the school administration and your child’s teacher so they are fully informed about the situation. You should provide the school with copies of final and temporary custody and visitation orders. The orders should set forth who has primary physical custody of the child and who has legal custody of the child. The orders may also set forth any restrictions there are on a parent’s access to the child and the school administration needs to know exactly what those restrictions are. Things are hectic enough for the school administration and staff at the start of year. They will surely appreciate it if they are given heads up in advance of any potential problems before those problems land in their laps during the first few days of school.
In addition to providing custody and visitation orders to the schools, you should provide the schools with a copy of any protective order that has been issued restricting a parent’s access to the children. For the sake of everyone’s safety at the school, you should make the school administration aware if a protective order has been entered which prohibits or restricts a parent’s (or other family member’s) access to or contact with the child. The school is acutely aware of its potential liability if a child is improperly removed or kidnapped or if a child, a parent, or an employee is injured or harmed and the school knew but ignored the restrictions in a protective order. They have a vested interest in insuring the safety of everyone involved. Try and use that interest in a positive manner.
In addition to information about custody, custody and visitation orders frequently contain information about or restrictions concerning a parent’s access to school records. In Virginia, neither parent, regardless of whether such parent has custody, shall be denied access to the academic records of that parent's minor child unless otherwise ordered by a court for good cause shown. This means that even if the other parent has sole custody, the parent without sole custody can access his or her child’s school records.
This doesn’t just apply to school! For a child who isn’t in school, but attends day care facilities, pre-schools, or babysitters, they too need to have the same information as the schools in order to keep the child safe.
-Rob Hagy, Charlottesville Divorce Attorney. For help with these and any other divorce related issues, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434)293-4562.