In the State of Texas, divorced parents retain certain rights at all times (unless a court order specifies otherwise). These rights include making important decisions related to their children’s health care, religious upbringing, and education, and are fairly straightforward. Nevertheless, the wording of the Texas Family Code related to parental rights was recently updated with the addition of school lunches, performances, and field trips.
Divorced parents have the right to make important decisions in their children’s lives that guide their medical needs, their education, and their religious upbringing. As these rights pertain to education, they include:
- The right to receive information from the school and teachers
- The right to confer with the other parent regarding decision making
- The right to access school records
- The right to confer with school officials regarding their children’s welfare and educational standings
And now, parents have the explicit right to attend their children’s school activities.
Rectifying Parental Disputes
Spending time with our children at school is one of the many pleasures of parenting. Unfortunately, a divorced parent will sometimes dispute whether the other parent should be allowed to have lunch with his or her child – or attend a school activity – on a non-visitation day. Now, Texas law has weighed in on the matter and finds – barring inappropriate behavior (or another issue) – that parents do have this right and that related disputes deprive children of maximum parental involvement and put the school in the awkward position of being in the middle of an issue that should be resolved by the family.
A Positive Step Forward
Adding language about the parental right to attend school activities is helpful because it highlights the importance of remaining involved in your children’s educations and makes it clear that your efforts will not be restricted. If a parent wants to be persnickety, however, he or she could make the argument that the language does not touch on all school activities, including father/daughter dances and the like. In other words, if a parent chooses to make trouble by splitting hairs, he or she may have wiggle room to do so. This law’s intent, however, seems clear – parents have the right to attend their children’s school activities (without any stated exceptions).
The New School Year
Beginning a new school year is a kind of reset for your children, but it also gives you and your ex a chance to come together in support of your children. Your children work hard at school, and they take pride in sharing their accomplishments and their school with you. When you make the school a neutral zone in which both parents are welcome, you put your children’s best interests first.