Who Decides Which School A Child Will Go to After A Divorce?

In an ideal world, divorcing parents are able to come to an easy agreement on what’s in their children’s best interest, especially on important matters like education, religion, and healthcare. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. While there can be legitimate disagreements between parents, conflict can arise when one parent wants more control of their children or there’s leftover hostility that drives a need to “win.”  Pennsylvania’s laws surrounding divorce and family issues are clearly written with the expectation that parents will cooperate or reach agreement on these topics.

In some cases, the question of which parent has decision-making power comes down to the type of custody that has been awarded. If one parent has been assigned sole legal custody, then there’s no question: they are the one who chooses the child’s school. However, when there is a shared legal custody arrangement, the parents are expected to come to a mutual agreement. If there’s a struggle over two different public schools that are each relevant to the individual parent’s homes, that decision will probably rest with the school, which will base their determination on where the child spends the most time. Even a slight difference in the percentage of shared custody will make a difference.

In most cases, attorneys are able to guide families to include specific language about how to resolve these differences within their custody agreement. If parents can’t agree, mediation is often an option. As a last resort, the issue can be resolved in court. Though family court judges will often make their decisions in a straightforward way, based on the type or percentage of custody that each parent has, that isn’t always the case. If you don’t want an outsider weighing in on what’s best for your child, it’s a good idea to work with your ex-spouse to find an answer.

If you need assistance in resolving a challenging custody issue, our experienced attorneys can help. Contact us today to set up a time for us to meet.