April 13, 2021

Sending the Kids to School: When Your Ex Doesn’t Make It Easy

The kids may be looking forward to summer vacation, but many are already looking ahead to the Fall and returning to school. School district boards, private school institutions, and online school companies are all considering their students’ safety regarding COVID and what restrictions may be in place by the time the new school year comes around. 

Parents face many questions: What school district has the best reputation and resources? What will be most convenient for my family? Where will my child be the happiest? These are already difficult questions for any parent, but divorce can make them harder. How do you make these challenging decisions?

When in Agreement

The ideal situation is when both parents agree on the best educational environment for their children and where to find it. Talking the matter through and considering the child’s developmental and educational needs and each parent’s goals can be difficult after divorce but is possible in some situations. You still want to ensure that the agreed-upon educational plan is put in writing and made legally binding. If additional changes or revisions are requested later that one parent does not agree to, a written statement can come in handy.

Reasonable Considerations

Whether agreeing to an educational plan for your family ahead of time or seeking family court help, it is important to consider each parents goals and the child’s basic needs. Of course, the  well-being of the child always comes first, but it may lead to a situation that is inconvenient or even disruptive for the other parent. For example, the school that one parent prefers may be too far of a drive for the other who must pick up their child after school several days out of each week or month.  Taking into consideration the reasonable goals and the child’s needs will lend toward the success of an educational plan. 

Type of Custody

If a parent has sole legal custody of the children, the other parent’s concerns may not be considered in  the educational environment that is ultimately  implemented. Even if the other parent has visitation and other custodial rights, if the sole legal custodial rights  are awarded to one parent, that parent will typically be allowed to make educational decisions on behalf of the children. 

Joint legal custody allows both parents to participate in the educational decision on behalf of their children. The court assumes that both parents can, and will, make decisions  that are in the best interests of their children, but that is not always the case.  Unfortunately, sometimes taking the matter to family court can help decide what is best for the children. 

When the Court Decides

In family court, each parent will have an opportunity to present the reasons why their educational decision would be in the child’s best interests. 

This ordeal can be stressful for many parents, and the representation of an experienced family law attorney, such as R. Leigh Frost, can make the process much easier. A lawyer knows how best to present your case to the court. The SchindelSegal Law Firm may be able to help. Call (952) 358-7400 to schedule a consultation with  Ms. Frost today.