School Choice

Its getting to be that time of year again, back to school. Which for some parents is a great relief, but for separated parents it can be quite stressful. What happens when you have joint legal custody and you disagree with your ex about where your child should attend school? Legal custody is the right to determine major decisions in a child’s life. If you have joint legal custody this means that both parents have equal right to participate in the major decision making regarding the child’s education. Therefore, if you have joint legal custody this means that any changes regarding a child’s schooling need to be agreed upon by both parties.

Often disputes arise when it is time to enroll a child in Kindergarten or when one parent moves and neither party resides within the school district that the child was attending. If both parents are unable to agree, then a motion must be filed in District Court to have the Judge make the decision.

The Court of Appeals has held that, in Minnesota, the Judge is to consider the best interests of the child found in Minnesota Statute §518.17. Since these factors pertain mostly to custody determinations, the Judge is also permitted to consider other factors that they deem relevant. The Judge cannot simply choose the school choice of the parent with sole physical custody without making a determination that it is in the best interest of the child. In the situation where one parent has sole physical custody, the sole physical custodian does not have the power to unilaterally decide where the child should attend school. The experienced attorneys at Mundahl Law will help you gather the necessary and relevant information to assist the Judge in making the appropriate decision for your child.

Our family law attorneys at Mundahl Law are experienced in litigating issues of school choice both in the District Court and appealing school choice decisions to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. If you are experiencing a school choice disagreement, call our office for a consultation.

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