Can I switch my child’s school without the other parent?

Sometimes parents live in different cities and the commute and distance from the school and one of the parent’s homes can create considerable difficulties and serious inconvenience for one of the parents. This is especially true when the parents share visitation over the school week. This may make the commuting parent think about just switching the child to his/her school district without consulting the other parent. This would be fine if the parent making that decision had sole legal custody of the parents’ minor child or children.

However, when the parents are sharing joint legal custody, the parent thinking about switching schools without consulting the other should not do so. When the parties share joint legal custody, they must make the major decisions relating to the child such as school choice, religion, and major activities, either together and come to a decision or file a motion with the court. Without an agreement or a court order, the parent changing schools unilaterally is essentially violating the other parent’s rights.

If a parent wishes to change schools, and the other parent will not agree, the proper procedure is to file a motion to modify the parenting plan in the district court where the current child custody order is. It is important to file the motion early enough for a judge to make a decision before the school season starts. This usually means at least three months before school starts.

When you are trying to change schools, just like with any other decision regarding the minor children, you must establish that the school change is in the child or children’s best interest. If you need help or would like more advice on how best to move forward on your parenting plan wishes, contact a Boise Child Custody Lawyer today.