Navigating shared custody can be difficult, but it becomes especially challenging when you’re having to make important decisions with your co-parent. If your child is struggling in school, it will likely mean involving your co-parent in the decision-making process. If you have questions about how to handle your situation, your first step should be to refer back to the parenting agreement and any other court documents laying out your and your co-parent’s rights and responsibilities. In addition, here are some general answers to frequently asked questions from Arizona parents about school decisions and shared custody.
What can I do if my child is struggling in school?
It can be difficult as a parent to see your child struggling in school, but as a co-parent, it’s important to involve your child’s other parent in these important decisions. A child who is struggling in school may just need extra help, or they may need a behavioral assessment and intervention. Talk to your child’s teachers about the situation to gain a clear understanding of what is needed. If it’s possible, try to schedule a meeting with the teachers that includes your co-parent, so that they can hear the information firsthand. Alternatively, you could ask the teachers to meet with your co-parent separately to fill them in.
Once you have the information about your child’s situation, you will need to consult your parenting agreement for further guidance on how to make a decision.
Who decides on getting our child extra help?
If it is determined that your child would benefit from extra help such as tutoring, this is a decision that you will need to make with your co-parent, especially if the extra help is likely to incur additional education costs the two of you would be expected to share. Consult your parenting agreement and any other court documents to determine how to make this decision. If you have sole custody, you may still be required to discuss the situation with your co-parent before you make a decision. In shared custody situations, sometimes one parent is given “final say” in case the two of you cannot come to a decision. Otherwise, if you have shared decision-making rights, you will need to both agree on all decisions regarding your child’s education.
What if my child’s teacher or doctor recommends a behavioral assessment?
If your child’s behavior or performance in school indicates that they may need to be assessed by a medical professional, it’s extremely important to involve your co-parent in this process. If you have sole custody or shared decision-making rights with “final say,” you might not need their approval. However, in many shared custody situations in Arizona, both parents must be in agreement on any physical or mental health decisions they make for their child. Furthermore, involving your co-parent in the decision-making process helps to ensure your child’s needs are met even when they’re not with you, which can be important if you have an equal division of parenting time.
When do I need to involve a lawyer?
If a court custody battle is in your future, it’s important to get a good family law attorney involved as soon as possible, to ensure a good outcome in the case. If you already have a custody order and a parenting agreement, and your co-parent is not following the court orders or is resisting getting help your child needs, you may have to take your case to court. Contact the Simon Law Group today for a free consultation to help you decide on next steps.