August is here, and children in Dallas are preparing to go back to school. For children whose parents are divorced, this time of year can be more complicated than for those whose parents are not divorced. Beyond deciding who will pay for a new backpack, shoes and other school supplies, decisions need to be made about who will be the primary contact person for the school to call should a problem arise. And, some fathers report that even if they co-parent with their ex, they are being left out of the loop when it comes to their child’s education.
According to one researcher, divorced fathers, specifically those who live with their child less than 50% of the time, have a difficult time being involved in their child’s education. Teachers and administrators often turn first to the child’s mother, sometimes leaving the father entirely in the dark.
When information is sent home from school, sometimes it is only sent to one parent — the parent with whom the child lives most the time. This means that nonresidential fathers may not know about their child’s grades, school events and other aspects of their child’s education.
Thus, divorced parents should inform their child’s school that they both need to be informed about their child’s progress and school events. In addition, the noncustodial parent can email or text their child daily to find out how their day at school was. A child custody order can be developed during the divorce process that outlines how schools are to contact each parent and what events the parents will attend together with regards to their child’s education. Having a detailed parenting plan that respects fathers’ rights can allow fathers to play an active role in their child’s education.