Can My Child Be Forced To Attend an Extracurricular Activity?

Make sure your parenting plan is air-tight and thorough. 

Before beginning or challenging a custody dispute, it is important to understand what the courts can and cannot order when it comes to parenting. 

First, the state of Florida favors shared parental responsibility. Meaning, both parents typically share in the ultimate decision making of their children, including educational decisions, religious upbringings, healthcare, and even deciding what extracurricular activities the child may participate in; Regardless of the parents’ inability to communicate with one another. 

Thus, many parents find it beneficial to enter into a Parenting Plan that lays out each parent’s responsibilities and sets out repercussions in the event that either parent fails to follow the plan, in order to allow for easier communication. That said, what happens when the child itself does not want to abide by the parenting plan? 

A recent Florida court decision held that a child doesn’t get to make this decision. 

In Loebs v. Loebs, Nos 2D14-191 (Fla. 2nd DCA February 19, 2016) the parents included in their parenting plan that “if a child does not desire to attend an extracurricular activity, the child shall not be required to attend.” The Appellate Court struck out this provision reasoning that allowing the child to make such decisions for itself would be contrary to Florida’s Shared Parental Responsibility Statute, and, thus, would not be in the best interest of the child. 

If you have any questions regarding parenting plans 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 at contact@themckinneylawgroup.com.

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