We can't agree on where our minor child should go to school, now what?
April 26, 2023
If you have a court order that grants both parents joint legal custody, then you likely know that this means that both parents have equal decision-making authority when it comes to major decisions regarding a minor child (for more information on “Legal Custody” please reference Jenna’s blog here: Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody | Midwest Family Law). This includes determining where a child will be enrolled in school. What happens, then, when the court order doesn’t address where the child will be enrolled in school, and the parents are unable to agree upon this?
Most courts will require that the parents first attend mediation to try to resolve the issue outside of court. Mediation is a voluntary process in which the parents (and their attorneys, if any) meet with a neutral third-party mediator in an attempt to come to an amicable resolution on any outstanding issues. If an agreement is reached through mediation, then the agreement would be signed by the parties and submitted to the court to become a binding and enforceable court order.
If the parties are unable to come to an agreement in mediation, then the issue would be decided by a judge at a court hearing. There are a variety of factors that judges typically consider when deciding which school a child should attend. Such factors include but are not limited to, the location of the school in relation to each parent’s residence, past and future involvement of each parent in the child’s schooling, educational statistics for the school (i.e., average testing scores, teacher-to-student ratio, etc.), impact on parenting time, financial considerations, and many other factors.
If school enrollment is in dispute, it is highly encouraged to begin the above process several months before the start of the school year in question, as the process may take quite some time to complete. Should you have questions about how to start the process, or any further questions regarding school enrollment, please contact Jenna at (651) 603-4733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.