Your children’s education provides critical academic knowledge and socialization that really lays a foundation for their future success. As a parent, you take your child’s education very seriously, knowing that it is both an investment and an opportunity. Further, you understand that you have to advocate for your child and to help your child find the motivation to achieve academic success.
When parents separate, the issue of education can be a very delicate one. First, parents often fight over who can have physical custody of the child, so the geographic location of the child’s school is a big deal. In addition, if your child has been in a school for a long time, then there is the factor of normalcy for the child and allowing them to stay at a school they know with their friends—instead of displacing them at a very formative time in their development. Another factor is that there are so many school choices, including public schools, charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling. Parents can have significant disagreements as to which provides the greatest benefit to their child or children.
Who Has Legal Custody of the Child?
If you and your child’s other parent have separated but do not have an agreement or custody order, then you both share equal ability to choose and enroll your child in school. However, this is not practical as your child will be in a precarious position if both parents enroll the child in a different school. This is why, in this scenario, you should speak with a family law attorney about reaching an agreement or bringing the matter before a court.
If you have sole legal custody of your child, then you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions about your child’s education. This is because a parent with sole legal custody has the legal right to make decisions regarding the child’s educational, religious, and moral upbringing. This means that you are able to enroll the child in the school of your choice.
If the other parent has legal custody, then they have decision-making authority. If you disagree with their choice, you may have the ability to file a lawsuit to seek a modification of custody. However, you must demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances to support the modification, as well as showing the court why it is in the child’s best interest to grant you sole or shared legal custody.
If you have joint legal custody, then unless your order explicitly states differently, then you and the other parent share equal say when it comes to your child’s education. In this scenario, you and the other parent will either need to reach an agreement about your child’s education, to follow the dispute resolution procedures laid out in your agreement, or to seek further orders from the court.
New Direction Family Law
You love your children and want the absolute best for them. At New Direction Family Law, we understand what drives you as a parent and want to fight for you. Our attorneys are experienced, hard working professionals who are respected by the legal community. We know the law and will create a tailored strategy to advocate for your legal interests. Let us help you. Our team serves Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation or reach us online.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law