“Homeschool, Independent Studies, and Court Orders”

One of the most difficult issues to work through after a separation are disagreements about schooling. Parents can disagree about whether or not to use public school, private school, a charter school, independent study through a county school, or an independent home schooling program. The options have increased greatly in the last 10 years, and parents often have different ideas about what would be best for the child.

The courts get the unenviable task of sorting this out when parents cannot agree.

As in all other issues, the judge will use the “best interest of the child” standard when making this decision. Factors that will play into the decision include past history, the age and grades of the child or children involved, attendance and grades, behavior issues, and any special needs of the children.

In general, the judge is going to lean towards more structure rather than less structured. This can present a real problem for someone who wants to either start of continue homeschooling or charter school work. If you believe that those options are the best for your child, you should be prepared to present good grades, good records, evidence of outside activities, and good state testing scores. If you want to keep your child out of school and out of state testing entirely, you will have difficulty convincing the judge that this is the best course for your child in the face of an objection from the other parent who does NOT think is the best option. You need to be prepared to show structure, a plan, and a history of success.

Because changing schools can be such a major life event for children, this is truly an area where you only want to take it to the judge as a last resort. Working out compromises for the sake of the children is really the best option unless you truly cannot come to an agreement with your ex. In those cases, be prepared to present your position to the judge and to back it up with evidence and facts that it is the best course for the children. Otherwise, the default is the public education system.

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.

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