We cannot decide where to send our child to school, what do we do?

Decisions on where your child attends school require a mutual agreement. 

I often have cases where the divorced parents cannot decide on where their children will attend school.  This often occurs when the parents live in two different school districts.  It’s common for each parent to want to send their child to the school closest to their house.  When the parents cannot make the decision where to send the child to school, then what will the court do?

In general, almost every parenting plan grants each parent what we call Shared Parental Responsibility.  Shared Parental Responsibility is a legal idea that both parents are to make all major decisions affecting the children together.  This includes educational decisions.  Under the principle of shared parental responsibility, the decision where children should go to school should only be made after the parents confer and reach an agreement.  In the event that the parents reach an impasse, then the dispute must be presented to the court for resolution.

In a recent Fifth District Court of Appeals case, one mother unilaterally enrolled her minor child in school without consulting with the Father. In Dickson v. Dickson The Father filed an emergency motion and the trial court ordered that the child be re-enrolled back in the former school and modified the time sharing schedule to give the Father time sharing during the school nights so the child can attend the former school.  The appellate court ultimately overturned the trial court’s decision, but only because the trial court failed to take evidence on whether the modification of the time sharing was in the minor child’s best interest.

If you wish to change your child’s school or require legal assistance in other areas of Family Law you may always contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail atcontact@themckinneylawgroup.com.

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