The answer to this question depends heavily on the type of child custody each parent has, or doesn’t have for that matter. Broadly speaking, the child will go to school based on where the custodial parent resides as that will usually be in the child’s best interest (remember that this is the most important factor to the court whenever handling anything to do with children). However, when legal custody is shared between the parents, most educational decisions are to be mutually agreed on, as that falls under the scope of legal custody. If an agreement cannot be made either outside of the court or in mediation, the court will be have to make a decision on this topic as well. However, in instances where one parent has full legal custody, they have the right to make final decisions about school-related issues.
Because the court has the best interest of the child in mind, they are often compelled to have the child remain in the school/school district they were enrolled in prior to the divorce, as to not disrupt everything in their lives, and keep a sense of normality and familiarity. If the parent that gains legal custody lives in the school district the child was already in, then typically that child will remain at that school. If both parents have moved out of the school district, and have joint custody, they must agree on the new school. If they cannot, the child will either remain in the current school, or whichever school district the residential parent lives in.
The answer to the question posed in this blog, as stated earlier, depends largely on what the circumstances are surrounding the custody of the kids. If only one parent has legal custody, then they have the discretion of which school the child goes to. If it is shared, and the parents cannot agree, the court will have to weigh in and make the final decision.
Paul E. Rudder, Esq. has a unique advantage in negotiating custody disputes. If you need an attorney to represent you, call 212-826-9900 to schedule an appointment.