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Resolving school choice issues in a divorce

If you and your spouse have determined that you want to move on in life without each other, you no doubt understand that your decision will have implications in your children’s lives. Before your separate lifestyles can fully take effect, you must work out a child custody agreement. This is a central focus in a divorce when children are involved.  

If you and your ex disagree about where your children should go to school or what style of education is best for them (i.e., public school, private school, homeschooling, etc.), there are several things to keep in mind to help you avoid legal problems. 

Before settling your divorce, draft a detailed child custody agreement 

If a dispute about education arises between you and your ex that you’re unable to resolve on your own, you may wind up discussing the matter in court. In such cases, one of the first things the average family court judge might do is review the terms of your child custody agreement. 

If the authority to make decisions about school issues — including where your children should attend school — is important to you, you’ll want to be sure to incorporate terms of agreement that state that you will be making education-related decisions. The court refers to decision-making authority as “legal custody” in a divorce. You can seek sole legal custody if you believe it is best for your kids that you make all of the education decisions on their behalf. 

The court has children’s best interests in mind 

You might want to homeschool your children, whereas your ex is demanding that they attend a private or public school in your area. If you choose to seek the court’s intervention to resolve the issue, the judge will ask questions and review your case to determine which style of education would best fulfill your children’s needs.  

Therefore, if you want to win the court’s favor regarding a specific school choice issue, be prepared to provide evidence and testimony to demonstrate why your school choice is best for your kids.  

Working together as a team for the sake of your children 

Coming to terms with a divorce is definitely challenging for most children. The better able you and your ex are able to peacefully negotiate issues regarding school choice and other educational matters, the less stress your children might experience as they adapt to a new lifestyle, including, perhaps, a new school or new daily school routine.  

As a concerned parent, you should never hesitate to reach out for additional support if a disagreement arises regarding school issues that you are unable to resolve on your own.