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Divorced parents may disagree on a child's schooling

If you are a parent who is divorced or seeking a divorce, you know that the daily decisions that go into managing your child's life are not always easy. When you and your spouse were happily married, agreeing on big decisions for your child wasn't as difficult, but now that the relationship has soured, these choices often involve attorneys, judges and paperwork.

Education is a big life decision

One of the most significant decisions you will make for your child is where to send them to school. This choice may come up more than once throughout a child's life as they advance through middle school and into high school. However, you and your estranged spouse may have differing opinions on how your child should be educated. Each method of schooling whether it be public, private or at home has its unique benefits, and personal values often play the largest role in education decisions. 

Parents want to be involved

A survey by Public Agenda, a New York City-based non-profit organization, says that many parents are unfamiliar with what their children should be learning in school, but two-thirds of them wish they could do more to be involved in the process.

This notion is likely where so much tension comes from in the decision. Therefore, it's important to understand the process of child custody and how that could affect your child's education.

Determining a child's best interest

Child custody decisions are made in the best interests of the child and not necessarily the wishes of one parent in particular. Ideally, courts want both parents to be involved in a child's life, and a parenting agreement written during divorce can dictate to what degree each parent has control.

How a child's education decisions are made can be included in a parenting agreement. Sometimes this decision is reached via compromise or mediation, and sometimes it requires a judge. What is included in the parenting agreement may be a point of contention in the future as you and your child's lives change after divorce.

Determining factors

Certain circumstances can play a role in where your child attends school including:

  • The location of the school compared to where your child lives.
  • A parent's ability to manage pick-up/drop-off times, after-school care and extracurricular activities.
  • Each parent's religious preference.
  • How schooling decisions were made in the past (if applicable).
  • Existing compromises in a parenting agreement.

Parents want to be involved in their child's life and education after divorce. Understanding how these decisions are made after divorce can be a factor in the guidance you seek throughout the process.

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