Family Law: School Choice

As summer comes to a close, family law attorneys and judges are inundated with issues surrounding school choice. Unfortunately, many of these disputes between parents are brought to the courts attention at the last minute leaving uncertainty for many families and school districts.

Parents who share joint legal custody must make major decisions regarding the children’s education together. Most disagreements arise when a parent has moved or a child is first entering kindergarten. If parents who share joint legal custody are unable to agree on school choice, the issue must be submitted to the court. Oftentimes, a parent who has sole physical custody prevails on these issues due to a preference for the child to go to school near their primary residence. However, there are many other important factors a court will consider in these decisions, such as: tuition, previous school choice, school rankings, extracurricular activities, the current parenting time schedule, the child’s preference, past academic performance, and the child’s relationship with the community.

K-12 school and district rankings are available online at https://k12.niche.com/rankings/. These rankings provide helpful information such as: reviews, graduation rates, student-teacher ratio, educational proficiency percentages, and student demographics.

If you are confronting school choice issues in your custody or divorce case, it is important you discuss the issue with an attorney as soon as possible.