School with Shared Custody

As parents, we make decisions daily with our kids’ best interests in mind. One of the most important long-term choices when raising a child is deciding where they should receive an education. A school should meet (and exceed) a child’s needs, so he or she can get the best start possible. If you are a divorced parent with joint custody of your kids, the decision gets more complicated. Here is our advice when it’s time to choose a school with shared custody.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, parents most often have shared legal custodial rights to their children. In other words, they have equal decision making power over major life choices for their child.  Education is one of those major choices.

Being Prepared

We often see parents seeking help to get the other party or the court to side with their educational choice. This choice might be the difference between public versus private school or one school district over another. Ultimately, parents want control over this decision rather than having a judge decide. Here are some tips to help.

  1. Think about your child’s needs. Find programs that are relevant and appropriate for his or her strengths and challenges. If you know your child would thrive in a school with smaller classes, focus on districts with those programs. Have real reasons that support why your child should go to the school you want.
  2. Do your research.  Do not just rely on the schools you have heard of in your area from other parents. Find out for yourself what these schools offer.  Go to their website, read educational blogs, and speak to the principal.
  3. Know all your child’s school options.  If you want a different school than the other parent suggests, give reasonable alternatives.  Have a list of schools or school districts ready. The more facts and support you have, the better your argument will be.

If you are struggling with an educational decision for your child, or your child’s other parent is causing difficulty, we may be able to help you in the context of family law. Contact our office for a consultation.