What you can do as a long distance parent depends upon your case. Your case depends upon local and state law. Local and state law depends upon federal law. As family structures changed, US Federal courts to established some standard rights and governance in child custody cases. Although there are not many, it’s important to understand how federal laws affect your parental rights.
The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)
Once upon a time, figuring out which state has jurisdiction in a child custody case was very unclear and complicated. This resulted in a system that made parental abduction easy and made getting court orders, for long distance parents, complicated. UCCJEA sought to simplify prosecuting parental kidnapping. This, in turn, made it far easier to determine which court has jurisdiction in long distance parenting cases.
This PDF is an in depth look at UCCJEA and it’s implications. DicorceSource.com has some information on how the UCCJEA affects child custody cases. Additionally, here on the site, there is information on how jurisdiction plays into long distance parenting cases.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
If I had a dollar for every time a long distance parent says the school is blocking their access to their kids’ records, this site could be completely ad free! Did you know that you have rights to your child’s school records under federal law? FERPA guarantees that the school has to give you access to your child’s school records.
However, despite this set of rules having been around a long time, your average school administrative staffer might not know. So, here is a sample letter to send your child’s school in order to get access to their records. It says all the right things and tells the school what they need to know in order to comply with your parental rights. Additionally, you may be interested in the US Department of Education summary of FERPA and a guide for parents, also by the DoE.
I am not an attorney and this website is not dispensing legal advice. Please seek the advice of a licensed attorney for legal advice.