Homework and Parenting Time – M.C. and P.C.
Dividing parenting time and parenting responsibilities can be complicated following a divorce or separation. Every parent just wants what is best for their children, and in the optimal situations, parents work together to work out co-parenting issues. These situations include the normal day-to-day issues of scheduling, extra-curricular activities, medical, and religious decisions. Among these issues is that of homework. Ensuring that a child has the best chance of scholastic success is an essential goal, and parents need to coordinate their efforts to help their child do well in school. In some cases, however, parents run into roadblocks in their efforts to cooperate.
In M.C. v. P.C., the issue of homework came into conflict with that of midweek overnight parenting time. In that case, the parties had divorced in 2014. As part of the divorce, the parties agreed that they would share joint legal custody, with the mother being the primary residential custodian. After the divorce, the father had visitation on weekends and also overnight Thursdays into Friday morning. The mother asserted that the weeknight visits were becoming detrimental to the children because the father was failing to help the children to complete their homework, and the children would often arrive at school on Friday mornings with incomplete assignments. The father denied these allegations.
The court noted that the New Jersey legislature had recognized that education is essential in a young person’s life. The court went on to remark that children need parents who can cooperate in a civil manner to coordinate on such issues as homework. The court noted that even where parents are able to discuss homework together and oversee a child’s scholastic development, going back and forth between the parents’ houses during the week could provide distraction and disrupt the child’s scholastic improvement. The court ruled that midweek overnight parenting is not per se damaging to a child, and in fact, could even benefit some children where it may encourage bonding between parents and children while working together on homework and school projects., However, each case is fact sensitive, and what works for one family may not work for another. The court declined to immediately eliminate the father’s midweek visits, but established a particular protocol to establish each parents’ responsibility with respect to homework and communication.
Modification of parenting schedules can be complicated. in helping our clients identify issues and achieve their goals. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 to talk about your children and your future.