How to Decide Where to Enroll Your Child in School Post-Divorce
When your divorce involves child custody provisions, deciding what school your child will attend can often become a contentious issue. You may face legal obstacles should you decide to change your child’s school.
If you share court-appointed joint legal custody with your ex-spouse, both parents must agree on major decisions that affect a child’s life. One of these categories is education. When a decision can’t be reached, the courts will likely become involved.
Joint Legal Custody and School Enrollment
Under Michigan law, when courts grant joint legal custody, parents are prohibited from making unilateral decisions regarding school-related matters. Parents are legally required to make these decisions collaboratively.
If you and your spouse disagree about school enrollment, the court will look at the Michigan Child Custody Act and review a number of factors before making a decision. These factors include:
- Love, affection, and emotional ties between parents and child
- Each parent’s ability to provide basic needs like food, clothing, and medical care
- Length of time the child has lived in a stable home environment
- The permanence of the child’s current living situation
- Home, school, and community records of the child
- History of domestic violence or abuse
In most cases, the court will rule in favor of the school that better suits your child’s needs. Generally, a judge will side with the option that causes the least disruption to a child’s daily routine.
Presenting Your Case to the Court
If you want to change your child’s school district, you’ll have to present a convincing case to the court. Depending on the circumstances, you will need to submit legally admissible evidence to support your request.
Evidence can involve any relevant information, such as:
- Pros and cons of relocating to a different school
- Statements from the child’s teachers or counselors
- Report cards and progress reports
- Evidence detailing how visitation rights may be affected
- Any relevant information that can support your claim
School enrollment modifications require an experienced attorney to present the best case possible. In Michigan, courts may entertain school-related issues only one time. Because of this rule, you must prepare accordingly to have a greater chance of obtaining the desired results.
When a child has greater access to extracurricular activities, friends, family, and social opportunities, the odds of the court siding in your favor increase.
Family Law Attorneys for School Enrollment Disputes
In situations where parents disagree on where to send their child to school, it’s always best to mediate and resolve the issue privately without involving the courts. After a divorce, you’ve likely endured a lengthy legal process involving many moving parts, and additional court appearances may be the last thing you want to do.
Sadly, when parents share joint custody and cannot reach a resolution, the courts may be the only option.
The attorneys at Gucciardo Family Law have experience representing family matters throughout Oakland County. Consult with us today if you’re involved in a dispute concerning your child’s school enrollment.
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