You got divorced when your children were still toddlers, so they weren’t in school. You and your ex split up physical custody of the kids, and they just lived at your house for a week and then with your ex for a week. Things seemed very simple and you moved forward with your life.
However, the children are now approaching the time when they need to start school. You assumed that they would just go to the private school that you went to, but your ex doesn’t want to pay and thinks that they should go to the local public school. Who gets to make this decision?
Do you share legal custody?
The first thing to do is to check your child custody arrangement. You clearly share physical custody of the children since they live between both homes. But do you also share legal custody?
Legal custody refers to the decision-making process. You get to make healthcare decisions and medical decisions. You get to pick schools or choose what religion the children are in. In some cases, only one parent has the right to do this, even if the children are allowed to live with the other parent. In other cases, both parents have legal custody and so they’ll have to work together to make a decision.
If you are the only one with legal custody, then you can put the children in any school you want and your ex does not get a say. But if you share custody, then the two of you are going to have to work out which school the children are going to attend. You cannot simply make this choice on your own, as that would violate your ex’s rights.
Considering your options
You can imagine just how complicated a situation like this can become, and that’s why it’s very important to understand all of the legal options at your disposal.