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New school year brings mixed feelings and child custody issues

With school going back in session for Alabama children, the fun of summer is coming to an end, and the attention will soon return back to homework and school activities. Understandably, this can make for a difficult and stressful time of the year then for area youths, as they attempt to get back into the school schedule. It can be particularly difficult for children who are enrolling in new schools, or those who have undergone family changes since the last school year ended.

One key area that can cause children some trepidation is when the parents have recently gone through a divorce. It can add to the tension when there are child custody issues, such as a custody dispute or a dispute over visitation rights.

For instance, most child custody arrangements have a certain schedule the parents follow that dictates the time, place and manner of exchange, or where the kids are transferred from one parent to the other. In certain circumstances, when the parents do not get along or issues arise, the custody exchange may become tense or hostile.

It is not in the best interests of the child for any violence or disruption to occur during these exchanges, particularly in front of the children. If the issue is not able to be resolved, parents may need to modify the manner of exchanges, such as setting up the exchange at a neutral place where the potential for conflict is decreased. The issues should also be thought about ahead of time during the divorce itself, when the child custody arrangement is being established.

Source: WBRC FOX 6, “How to help kids quell back-to-school jitters,” Aug. 24, 2013.