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Co-parenting: Deciding what schools children will attend

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | Child Custody

Co-parents share responsibility for their children and rights related to their upbringing. They should cooperate with each other for their children’s benefit. Healthy co-parenting relationships can have a positive impact on everyone in the family.

It does take quite a bit of work to gracefully share parental responsibilities with a co-parent. Seemingly minor issues can lead to disputes that do real damage to a co-parenting relationship. The decisions that people typically have to make while parenting can become protracted conflicts in a co-parenting scenario.

Where the children attend school can be a matter that affects their opportunities for the rest of their lives. The education they receive and the relationships they start can influence what else they ultimately achieve as adults. Which parent decides where the children attend school in a shared custody scenario?

Parents typically need to agree

The division of parental rights and responsibilities usually seeks to promote active sharing and co-parenting. In other words, parents likely share decision-making responsibility. The courts would prefer to see them reach an agreement with one another about where the children go to school.

Either parent can make immediate choices in an emergency or as necessary during their parenting time. However, for decisions that have longer-term implications, like whether to allow the children to attend virtual school instead of in-person class, agreement is usually of the utmost importance. Oftentimes, the matter is so important that custody arrangements declare which parent has more time with the children based on where they live and what schools the children can attend as a result.

What if parents do not agree?

Occasionally, one parent may have the final say in certain matters according to the parenting plan. That is not the case in the parents do not agree, they may eventually need to take the matter in front of a family law judge. Judges can theoretically resolve specific dispute between parents by deciding what seems to be in the best interests of the children.

They can also sometimes modify existing parenting plans to prevent such disputes from arising again by clarifying who can make the final determination if parents do not agree. Whether or not the children can switch school districts, if they start homeschooling or if they move to private school can all have major implications for family schedules and finances.

Understanding what influences important decisions when sharing custody may help parents better settle disagreements about their children’s upbringing. Parents may need to push for arrangements that are optimal for their children in some cases. When that occurs, seeking personalized legal guidance is a good way to clarify one’s rights and options.

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Attorney Harvey S Lutins