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Make child custody changes before school starts

If you are divorced and co-parenting your children with your ex, or if you are contemplating filing for divorce, now is a good time to iron out any kinks in your child custody agreement.

The reason for addressing these issues during summer vacation is that it is disruptive to your children's education to have to switch schools or school districts once classes have resumed this fall.

Make kids' interests your first priority

When you have a contentious relationship with your children's other parent, it is the kids who suffer the most harm. Both parents should strive to provide a consistent routine for the children at all times.

You may have good reasons to want to modify your child custody order, and kids, in general, are quite resilient. But it is better to make these changes now than during the school year.

Can you work it out?

It's a good idea to try to hash out any initial agreements or proposed changes to your custody arrangements with your children's other parent. Reaching accord between yourselves is always preferable to expensive and time-consuming litigation.

Unfortunately, that's not always possible in hotly contested custody battles. If you anticipate that your child's other parent will challenge the custody arrangements that you propose, now is the time to loop in your Cherry Hill family law attorney to make sure that they are fully briefed on the custody situation.

What do the courts look at?

The courts endeavor to make custody determinations with the children's best interests always foremost. If your proposed changes include enrolling the kids in a different, better school district where they would have enhanced educational or extracurricular opportunities, you should begin building your case to support your argument.

You and your family law attorney could gather statistics that show higher graduation rates or full-ride sports scholarships offered at the new school. You might want to investigate the school's safety rating or the percentage of teachers there who have advanced degrees. In general, any evidence that supports your position may be used in court to sway the judge to your side.

Older children may be able to state their preferences to the family law judge, either in open court or in the judge's chambers. Discuss with the kids which school they would prefer to attend so that there are no surprises in the courtroom.

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