Can I participate in my child’s school events?

Photo of Empty Class Room

When parents are separated a common question is if they can attend school events. Can I attend my child’s holiday party, Thanksgiving lunch, Christmas or Winter celebration, Valentines Day events, etc.? For parents with a visitation/possession and access schedule, the next question usually is, can I attend even if it’s not my visitation day?

In Texas, if parents have a common custody schedule, it likely will list each parent’s rights. This list usually follows Texas Family Code 153.073 rights. Included in that list will be a line saying each parent has the right to attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips. This is true regardless of the visitation schedule.

Participating in your child’s school, and showing them support in this area, can boost a child’s performance, improve their emotional perception of school, strengthen parent-child bonds, and give you insight into your child’s world away from home. School is where children spend the majority of their time on weekdays. Getting to know the teacher, other school officials, the classroom, and other classmates will enrich your conversations with your child. All these factors are in the best interests of the child. For this reason the Texas Family Code has ensured that parents can attend school related activities, regardless of whether “it’s their day to have the kids,” or not. Be the chaperone on the school trip, volunteer for the class party, come in for career day, all are open opportunities for the parent.

There are some situations where this right to attend school activities is not the case, e.g., when there are protective orders, non-typical possession schedules, or curtailed rights due to violence or drug/alcohol issues. Check your court orders to see if you have this right to attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips, before you show up at school. Consult with an attorney if you need help reviewing your court orders or requesting a copy from the courthouse.