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When court and classroom meet

7th Sep, 2018 / Legal & Law Firm, News

As a new school year gets underway, teachers and management staff may unwittingly find themselves involved in disputes between separated parents.

In a perfect world, court and classroom would only meet in a careers’ presentation. However, with 25% of all families with children being single parent families, and a significant number of children living with one of their parents and their new partner, it is inevitable that issues surrounding parental separation are going to impact on children and young adults in the school environment, just as any other anxieties or tensions at home will.

As a new school year gets underway, teachers and management staff may unwittingly find themselves involved in disputes between separated parents.

  • What if one parent agrees to a vaccination or attendance at a religious service and the other does not?
  • What if a mother or father that has never been involved in taking or collecting a child from school before turns up early explaining they need to take the child to an appointment?
  • What if one parent indicates the other should not be invited to parents’ evenings?
  • What if a parent requests their children are known by a different surname to the one they where registered with?
  • What if one parent expressly says the other parent should not be allowed to take the children off the school premises?

Are there any decisions which require the consent of both parents, rather than just one? What is CAFCASS and in what circumstances may the organisation contact the school? These are put a few of the situations where schools can find themselves being expected to adjudicate in parental disputes.

A key piece of information for a school to have when developing a policy on managing parental disputes, is who has parental responsibility for every child in the school’s care. Parental responsibility is defined as ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’. Each person with parental responsibility has an equal say in relation to all the fundamental issues concerning that child. Even if that child spends most of their time with one parent, the say remains equal unless there is a court order limiting one parent’s ability to exercise the responsibility…. READ FULL ARTICLE

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