Sadly, there are many California households that include an abusive parent or spouse. Many children look forward to going back to school, so they don’t have exposure to conflict and stress daily at home. Over the summer, hundreds of spouses/parents — often mothers — have filed for divorce, and as part of child custody or divorce proceedings, a judge issued a restraining order (RO) against the other parent/spouse.
If this has been an issue in your divorce case, and your children will be attending school in a few weeks, it’s a good idea to inform school administrators that a judge has issued an RO against your ex. On one hand, you might feel uncomfortable sharing private information with your children’s teachers, principal or coaches. On the other hand, if you don’t have it on record at school that your ex does not have permission to pick up your kids or visit them without supervision, etc., serious problems could arise.
Domestic violence is a leading factor in California divorce
Most family court judges in California have finalized divorces where domestic violence was a primary factor. If you accuse your ex of abuse, you must be able to substantiate the claim. A visible physical injury, such as a contusion or abrasion, creates compelling evidence. However, many cases involve emotional or mental abuse, which is more difficult to prove.
If you obtain a restraining order to keep your children safe, it is vitally important to have a support system in place, especially in places where other adults have authority over your children, such as school, camp, sporting events or daycare. School officials and other adults in the community who have temporary watch over your children on a regular basis can make sure that no one picks them up unless they have permission to do so.
What a restraining order prohibits
It’s possible that the judge who issues a restraining order in your divorce might prohibit your ex from coming within a certain distance of your children. This means that he or she could be in violation of the order without even entering your child’s school. When you inform school officials about the RO, it’s also important to provide details, such as specific distances or other prohibitions included in the court order (like not calling your kids on a cell phone).
If you believe your ex is disregarding a child custody order or is placing your children at risk while they’re at school or elsewhere, you can take immediate steps to seek guidance and support, including asking the court to intervene.