I’ve been talking about the various legal custody designations. If you haven’t read the other articles, go back and read those first. I am not going to break down all six categories of decision-making in custody agreements in Alabama. Instead, we will focus on the extracurricular activities. This one is a hotbed of issues for parents. Because the person who is in charge of this one, gets to decide which activities the children will be enrolled in. I’ve seen entire cases litigated for this issue alone.
Why? Here are a few scenarios that cause problems for parents:
- Travel ball (soccer, softball) or theater or dance. Travel can cost a lot of money and a lot of time. There are usually ways we can include some language to protect you from the cost if you don’t agree. But nothing can help you if your child is in a traveling sport and you can’t do it for one reason or another.
- You live in different school districts. Different districts equal different teams. It may be a trek to go to practices and games.
- One parent may want the children to be involved in every sport available.
- The child may not want to be in the sports but one parent is more demanding.
- One parent may not think that sports are important and the other desperately wants to watch the child play ball.
There are far more fights about this category than I can list. But you get the general idea. Another thing I urge you to have included in your papers, is that if you want the child to be involved in something that will be held on your weeks then make sure you set out that you can enroll the children as long as it doesn’t conflict with other sports. What you want to avoid is negatively affecting your children because you can’t agree on what activities the children should be involved in. It spoils the experience for the child. I’ve seen it impact the child’s performance because they knew their parents were going to argue about it.
The Conflict Between Cultural and Civic Categories of Extracurricular Activities
Another notable thing about extracurricular category decision-making is that it can conflict with two other categories. Cultural and Civic. I’ve recently been in mediation when the mediator said that extracurricular would be anything that costs money. I don’t know if I agree with that, but I suppose an argument could be made for this school of thought. If you believe there is going to be a lot of confusion over the categories, then you may want to differentiate into sports as one category and then cultural and civic separately.
I recently was in a case where we were arguing intensely over the categories and we ended up breaking it down in the above categories instead. If this is an area you believe will be contested, then the way you demonstrate to the Court that you should be awarded this category these are things you can do:
- Show how you’ve participated in the children’s extracurricular activities by pictures or documents.
- Demonstrate how you’ve been involved as a coach or team mom, etc.
- Testify about why you want to be awarded this category.
- If you and your spouse have argued about the child’s activities then provide emails, texts, and details about the disagreements.
I don’t want you to get hung up on this category though. No matter who has the decision making, you can still be part of the children’s activities. You can go to every event and you will have the schedule, etc. You can participate to the extent you want to regardless of the designation. If you are facing a stressful and complicated child custody battle, contact us today for a free consultation and find out how our skilled and compassionate attorneys will fight to protect the rights of you and your children.