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Enlightened school officials know that "family'' is fluid concept

Experienced family law practitioners have been working with diverse nuclear families for many years.

Many Minnesota parents who divorced years ago likely remember their ongoing discomfort in dealing with officials at their kids' schools, ranging from principals and coaches to counselors and, of course, teachers.

Back "then," a uniformly held notion of family implied a two-parent home, with mom, dad and the children comprising the so-called "nuclear family" often referred to in prior decades.

Of course, reality in any sphere of life is seldom set in stone or defined in an immutable way, something that is demonstrated time and again regarding family law matters.

To wit: The nuclear family is, well, just one type of family unit among multiple variations these days (and, in truth, was but one of many family models in bygone decades, as well). Sometimes grandparents play a central at-home role. Same-sex partners in Minnesota and across the country have kids and run households. So, too, do single and divorced moms and dads, respectively.

The bottom line is that "family" is a fluid concept, which, as pointed out in a recent media piece on family-related assumptions in the school environment, has necessitated adjustments on the part of some school officials to make caregivers comfortable and to keep things flowing smoothly in school-related interactions involving children.

As noted in that article, new training ideas and programs have become increasingly important and prevalent for "overcoming common assumptions about what typical families look like."

One curriculum director states that sometimes "traditional views of a family are not what our students experience."

She says that, happily, many schools are getting the message, which, in turn, is making more parents and other providers more comfortable in their school-related communications.

The experienced family law practitioner is also familiar with a variety of types of families and can work with their clients to develop parenting guidelines and plans for parents in separate households with the best interests of the children at the forefront both in and out of school. In this area of family law, practitioners have been years ahead of the conventional concept of "family" and have been helping the so-called "non-traditional" families navigate the challenges that come with life-changing family law events.

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