New school year may require new child custody schedule

Pierre Domercq Child Custody and Visitation

As children in California go back to school, divorced or separated parents may want to take the opportunity to review child custody schedules. Different schedules for summer and the school year may be familiar, but for some children, last year’s schedule may no longer be a good fit.
As children mature, their need for supervision and ability to handle transitions may change. A child starting kindergarten will likely require a different schedule. Children may become involved in new academic or extracurricular activities that increase their time away from home and create new transportation requirements. An agreement providing for a child to have dinner with one parent on a specific day may not be feasible.
School-related changes are not the only things that may affect a child custody schedule. One parent might change jobs, resulting in a different work schedule. A child may develop an illness that warrants staying in one home for an extended period of time during recovery. The key to management of child custody schedules is for the parents to remain objective. Residual emotional conflict from the divorce or separation should not interfere with ensuring that children are at the appropriate place at the appropriate time with the appropriate supervision. Smartphone apps are available to make the scheduling and communication process easier.
Child custody orders are legally binding and may be changed only by the court. A parent who voluntarily gives up time on a continuing basis to accommodate schedule changes runs the risk of the other parent going to court to try to have the change made permanent. A parent who believes that the custody schedule for his or her child should be changed may want to talk to a lawyer who has experience in child custody cases. The lawyer may be able to obtain an order modification that serves the child’s best interests.