Are you a parent who only sees their child on weekends or occasionally? Use the following tips to stay involved in your child’s life.


Be Involved at Home and at School

            One of the greatest ways for a non-custodial parent to be involved in his or her child’s life is to enhance the education and development of the child.  A parent who takes the time to read to his or her child, to help with homework, and to attend parent-teacher conferences shows the child and the school that he/she cares enough to be involved in the child’s life.  Here are some basic tips on how to stay involved in your child’s school life:

  • Figure out ways to stay connected and involved with the school through the school’s website and message system
  • Partner with the school when you are at home by understanding and enforcing school policies on homework, research projects, behavior, and attendance
  • Collaborate with the teacher to create and foster a learning environment at home that supports and enhances what is being taught in the classroom
  • Take advantage of school-related volunteer and involvement opportunities
  • Join the Parent Teacher Association at your child’s school
  • Read to your child’s class
  • Become a tutor at your child’s school
  • Attend back-to-school night
  • Attend school productions
  • Chaperone field trips
  • Have lunch with your child in the school cafeteria
  • Participate in school fundraisers, such as bake sales or car washes


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            Non-custodial parents need to realize that they have the right to receive school-related documents.  However, they must realize that it is their responsibility to request information from the school.  It is important to note that while schools are required to provide this information, they are not required to initiate the process or pay to mail the documents.  Each school handles these types of requests differently, so it is important to have a conversation with your school administrator about their procedures.  For non-custodial parents, it is beneficial to make an appointment to meet with your school administrator to discuss topics such as:

  • Any relevant court orders or documents relating to your child
  • Any interests in parental involvement opportunities
  • Your rights and responsibilities in requesting and receiving school-related documents
  • How and when the school will usually contact you


Benefits of Non-Custodial Parental Involvement

            The U.S. Department of Education indicates that the non-custodial parent’s involvement may be crucial to academic success.  Non-custodial parental involvement is shown to:

  • Boost academic performance
  • Boost IQ
  • Contribute to raising test scores
  • Improve reading skills
  • Strengthen verbal skills
  • Enhance self-esteem
  • Enhance social and emotional bonds
  • Increase the likelihood of pursuing a higher education degree
  • Decrease the likelihood of dropping out of school

If you have any questions about your rights or responsibilities as a non-custodial parent, call (804) 325-1245 or (757) 941-4298 to speak to one of the attorneys at Smith Strong.

H. Van Smith
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Trusted Virginia Attorney Serving Richmond to Williamsburg