As the summer draws to a close, many parents spend their time (while sheltering in the air conditioning or supervising time in the pool) thinking about the various necessary preparations for their children to go back to school. When parents are separated, are divorced or are undergoing a divorce, where the children will attend school in the fall can be a potential point of contention, of negotiation, and sometimes of litigation.
Children who attend public school are required to be “domiciled” (where they live 50% or more of the year) in the school district where they are attending school. If the parents are cohabitating, perhaps while an action for divorce is pending, then there is little cause for concern. If the parents are living apart, and in different school districts, then the question may arise: in which school district should the children attend school? Some divorce agreements can specify which parent is the “parent of primary residence” for school purposes. Some parents will make the decision based on which school district has better ratings.
In the end, if this issue ends up before a court, the judge will have to consider the best interests of the children to determine where they should receive their education. If the children have been in a school district for a period of time, and a request is made for them to change to a different school district, the court may determine that this is not in their best interest.
If you are contemplating or currently going through a divorce, and are concerned about a potential dispute about your children’s school districts, or have other questions the experienced family law attorneys at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf, LLP can help you understand your rights and obligations. Call us for more information.