“My Ex And I Disagree About What School For Our Child To Attend: What Now?”

When parents live in different school districts, or even when they live in the same district by disagree about either public of private school, conflicts can arise.

In a perfect world, both parents would discuss the issue, weigh the pros and cons, perhaps even have a discussion of the child, and make a joint decision. In fact, in most cases, this is exactly what a judge would require the parties to do.
However, agreement is not always possible for a variety of reasons. The parties may have a legitimate, reasonable dispute that they cannot solve. One party may be unreasonable. One party may insist on a particular school that is convenient to them, but not to the child. One party may be unwilling to bear the costs of private school. Currently, more and more disputes are emerging about the use of home school or charter schools as well as online education and programs.

If one party has sole legal custody, the law is fairly clear: that party gets to choose where the child goes to school. If the parties share joint custody, however, the parties will need to ask a judge to make a decision. This should be done by filing a request for order explaining the issue. After hearing both sides, the judge will make a decision. When presenting your request to the judge, it is important to explain all the factors that make you believe a certain school is appropriate. Things such as school schedules, class availability, distance from you and your ex’s residence, and even school ranking can be factors you need to present.

It is also important to note that if you have a resource such as minor’s counsel or mediation services available to you, it is important to try to use this first before presenting it to the judge. While the judge will in fact make a decision, the courts are busy and you need to exhaust your other options first.

It is also important to either time your request for a school break where a transfer is possible, or be prepared to wait until a school break for a change. Judges do not like to change schools in mid-session, for obvious reasons.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.