Legal Custody Area
What is Educational Decision-Making in the Context of a Divorce?
As children spend almost all of their formative years in school or otherwise receiving structured education, decisions concerning education are often the most impactful and consequential decisions parents may make for their children. In terms of legal custody, the parent with final decision making for education has the ultimate authority to make a final decision when the parties disagree.
Scenarios for Educational Decision-Making
Choice of Schools
Perhaps the most discussed area of education decision-making in a divorce is the area of school choice. Public school or private? Homeschooled or traditional classroom? In school districts with options of which school to attend (including magnet schools), making the final decision regarding what school is best for your child.
What Grade Level?
Sometimes parents are faced with the decision to hold a child back a year in school. For others, there is the decision as to whether to allow a child to skip a grade. These types of gut-wrenching decisions are difficult enough for married couples, for divorced parents they can be extremely difficult.
Course of Study
Advanced placement? What electives (such as health, sex education, or industrial technologies) a child may take are additional decisions that can fall under educational decision-making.
In order to address concerns about final decision-making authority being granted to another parent for educational purposes, limits could be put into place. For example, the parties could agree that private school will continue at "XYZ school" unless both parties agree to make a change.
Rights BOTH parents have in Relation to Educational Information about their Child
Regardless of who is the final educational decision-maker, unless the court orders otherwise, BOTH parents have the right to receive all notices regarding their child's academic performance and attend all parent-teacher conferences.
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