Who Chooses Where Your Kids Attend School: You or Your Ex?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once observed that "We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future." This aspiration is what inspires parents to seek out solid educational programs and enriching experiences for their kids. Without strong academic and social foundations, children may struggle unnecessarily for much of their lives. Because the stakes of a young child's schooling are so high, parents tend to be very invested in where their child attends K-12. When a child's parents are no longer together, and they disagree on where their child should attend school, that point of contention can escalate both quickly and meaningfully.

Who Has the Authority to Make Schooling Decisions?

The nation's courts have long recognized that a fit parent has a right to raise their children. In Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651 (1972), for example, the U.S. Supreme Court observed that this right is “far more precious… than property rights.” As a result of this reality, courts do not strip parents of their right to meaningfully impact their child's upbringing lightly. Even if one parent is granted sole or primary physical custody of a child, it's extremely rare that a court would deny a child's other (fit) parent joint legal custody.

Physical custody primarily concerns where a child resides and which parent has the authority to make day-to-day regarding their child's care. Legal custody empowers a parent to make decisions concerning their child's medical, religious, and educational well-being, as these are fundamental aspects of a child's experience. Thus, if you and your co-parent share legal custody and you can't agree on where your child should attend school, your situation is potentially very sticky because you are both empowered to make this choice.

If You and Your Co-parent Share Legal Custody and Don't Agree About School Choice

If your parenting plan indicates that one of you gets to make this decision based on where your child resides, you'll need to honor the terms of your plan unless or until the plan is formally modified. We can work with you to negotiate a modification, pursue mediation, or – if necessary – file or fight (depending on your situation) a formal modification request with the court.

If you either don't have a parenting plan in place yet or your parenting plan doesn't specify how disagreements like this should be resolved, our team can help you to negotiate, mediate, or litigate a solution. In every scenario, we'll strive to ensure that your child's best interests are upheld. Each family is different, so the most effective approach to seeking a resolution for yours may be different than it is for someone else's.

Custody and Parenting Plan Matters: Personalized Guidance Is Available

If you and your co-parent are struggling to settle on where your child should attend school, know that the experienced Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm is here to help. Whether you hope to negotiate a parenting plan modification or you need to manage broader custody arrangements in the wake of a decision to divorce, the Lento Law Firm's Family Law Team can assist you with your legal needs efficiently and effectively.

To learn more about how we can help you to resolve this consequential challenge, schedule a confidential consultation with our team today by calling 888-535-3686 or by contacting us online. We look forward to working with you.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact a Family Law Attorney Today!

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.