Texas family law does not create a right to attend the child's non-school extracurricular activities. But if parents agree, they can customize their orders to specify which parents have rights to enroll the child in extracurricular activities and summer camps, etc., and to attend the child's competitions and performances.
What involvement do I have in choosing my child’s extracurricular activities and summer camps?
The Texas Family Code and the Standard Possession Order do not include a right to attend the child's non-school extracurricular activities.
If you are in the process of getting a court order, you need to let the judge know you want to include terms about your child’s extracurricular (non-school) activities and summer camps. Your order will not automatically include language about extracurricular activities and summer camps. Extracurricular activities may include sports teams (e.g., select or private league teams), music lessons and concerts, scouts, and the like.
If parents agree, they can customize their order to include any of the following:
If a parent cannot give permission to the child to engage in social activities happening while the child is with the other parent?
Which parent has the right to enroll the child in extracurricular activities and summer camps?
Will the parents have to agree before enrolling the child in extracurricular activities and summer camps?
If both parents are allowed the right to enroll the child in extracurricular activities and summer camps, will enrollment be limited to a certain number of activities per year or semester?
What happens if the activity or summer camp occurs partially while the child is with the other parent?
Will parents have to make best efforts to get the child to and from activities and camps when the child is with them?
Will the parents share information with each other about events and activities in the child’s life?
Which parent is responsible for paying for enrollment fees, uniforms, awards ceremonies and trophies, travel and transportation expenses, etc.?
My order does not include terms for extracurricular activities or summer camps. What can I do?
If your order does not contain provisions for extracurricular activities or camps and you and the other parent are struggling with decisions about your child’s extracurricular activities or camps, then you may need to file a modification. Filing a modification will allow you to request the court to consider including any provisions on extracurricular activities and summer camps.
Until your order is modified, you must follow your current court order. Not following your court order could result in an enforcement action against you.
What if the activity interferes with my visitation time?
If your child has been enrolled in an activity that interferes with your visitation time, you are not required to take your child if it is during your time unless your order says otherwise.
Parents should encourage their children to engage in extracurricular and school activities, as well as summer camps. This is true especially if the child enjoys or excels at the activity. Understand that as your child grows, he or she may want to spend more time engaging in extracurricular and school activities and summer camps. You should make best efforts to allow your child to participate in their activities. This includes getting the child to and from practice, games, awards ceremonies, performances, etc..
Parents should also share information about their child’s activities with each other. Parents who make these good faith efforts to be flexible may find it easier to allow the child to participate in the extracurricular and school activities they want to.
If you have concerns the other parent is scheduling too many activities in order to interfere with your visitation time, you should speak with an attorney. You may need to file a modification to address these concerns and get a new order for you and the other parent to follow.
The school is not letting me attend my child’s school activities. What can I do?
Read your order. If you have the right to attend school activities, including school lunches, performances, and field trips, then you need to let your child’s school know. The school will require a certified copy of your order. A certified copy of your order will have an endorsement, certificate, seal, or stamp on it to prove it is a true and correct copy of the original order.
Make sure you sign up for any electronic notifications from the school. This way you are informed about any school trips and activities you are allowed to participate in. Parents can choose to alternate school trips and activities, if they wish.
If the other parent has purposefully left you off school enrollment and information forms, you must contact the school to be added on. You can do this if you have the above-listed rights. If the other parent continues to exclude you from participating in your child’s school activities, you can file an enforcement against the other parent. This will allow the court to address any violations of your court order.
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