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What if co-parents disagree about where to enroll a child in school?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2023 | Family Law |

Sharing custody after a separation or divorce is often even more challenging than parenting together while in a relationship. Adults have less reason to compromise when they no longer share a relationship with one another beyond their obligations to their children. They may also let their feelings about their prior relationship affect how they handle matters related to their children.

Parents sharing custody of their children in Oklahoma often disagree about various parenting issues. For example, they might disagree about what school the children should attend. The parents might live in two separate school districts, and each may insist their district is better. One parent may want to send the children to public school, while the other may want to send them to private school or even homeschool the children.

How can parents resolve disagreements about the school that children attend?

Their custody order can provide clarity

An Oklahoma custody order usually talks about the division of custody, control and care between the parents. Control relates to decision-making authority. Sometimes, one parent will have more decision-making power than the other. Other times, one parent may have the final say in certain areas while the other gets to make the final decision in other matters. Frequently, custody orders require that parents cooperate to make major decisions. If they cannot agree, then they may need to go back to court.

How a judge would decide

If a judge hears a case involving educational disputes between parents, they will have to review the situation carefully. The ages and needs of the children and the schools involved will influence what decision they make. The most important consideration will typically be what is in the best interests of the children. Schools that have higher graduation rates, offer better support for children with special needs or require less time on the bus might seem like the best option if a judge makes the final determination.

Parents embroiled in a dispute about educational opportunities for their children often need to gather evidence and present their case very carefully so that the children’s needs are their top priorities. A judge’s determination about education could influence what school district the children enroll at and also how the parents handle costs related to transportation, sports and private tuition.

Understanding how to settle a disagreement about the schooling of minor children when co-parenting can help parents minimize conflict and achieve the best possible outcome for their kids.