Divorced parents and the politics of lunch

It comes up every year. Mom and dad are divorced and they don’t get along well. Dad wants to join the kid for lunch at the school, but mom has let you know that this is not OK. What to do?

We now have a law that addresses this. HB 3145 amends the Family Code to say that a person appointed as a “conservator” of the child has the right, at all times “to attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips.” This is the default rule, but it can be limited by court order.

So what do you do? Ideally you have a copy of the Divorce Decree. Chances are very good that it appoints both parents as “conservators.” One of them may be the “managing conservator” while the other is the “possessory conservator.” Or it may identify both ex-spouses as “Joint Managing Conservators.” In any event, it’s usually the case that both parents are identified as a “conservator” of some sort.

So the default rule is that either parent can join the student for lunch. The exception would be if the Decree says something to the contrary. Keep in mind that the school can also impose rules that apply to all parents—such as a limitation on the number of times a parent can join the student for lunch. As long as rules like that are applied evenly, they can be enforced.

HB 3145 will be located at Texas Family Code 153.073(a)(6). It’s in effect now.


Tomorrow: Character education!