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School Attendance for Children of Separated Parents

When parents separate and the separation results in one parent living in a different school district than the residence in which the children resided during the intact relationship, it may lead to a dispute over which school the children will attend. Will the children remain in the current school district? If both parents move out of the school district, which parent’s school district will the children attend? If one parent has primary physical custody, then the children will typically attend school in that parent’s district. Other options would be for the children to attend private school or enroll in cyber school.

When the parents share custody on an equal basis (50/50), neither parent has primary physical custody of the children. Therefore, there is no clear “tie-breaker” to determine which school the children should attend. The children have the right to attend either school district. If one of the school districts is a school district where the children have previously attended, for purposes of familiarity and continuity, the court may choose that school district. If both school districts are new to the children, however, the Court will determine what is in the children’s best interest. In making this decision, the Court will consider the quality of the school district; each parents’ work schedules and district bus routes as it relates to each parent’s ability to get the children to and from school every day, and the special or individual needs of the children as it relates to the services or activities that are available to the children in each school district.

In some cases, it is necessary for an expert to weigh in on the decision in the form of a school district evaluation.

The Attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC have experience in handling these school issues. We will be happy to meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your case. Please contact our office at 717-836-0471 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.