Child Custody Disputes: Back to School — But Where?

School Choice

Where to send the children to school can be an issue of concern after divorce.

It is the end of August, which means that most parents are gearing up to send their kids back to school.  But for parents who find themselves in the midst of a child custody dispute, the question of, “Where should my child attend school?” often is a complicated issue, especially when the parents reside in different school districts.

Generally, if one parent has primary physical custody, the child will attend school in that district.  When the parents equally share physical custody, the child technically could attend school in either district.  Parents who have shared legal custody (which is the vast majority of parents) must make decisions regarding school choice jointly.  If the parents are  unable to agree upon where the child should attend school, one of them will need to seek court intervention.  A court will consider all of the Section 5328  custody factors in analyzing which school will serve the child’s best interests.

Or, parents may disagree as to whether the child should attend public or private school.  Again, if the parents cannot reach an agreement, one must petition the court for a determination.  The court will consider the child’s best interests in determining where she should attend school.  There is no “rule of thumb” that private school is better than public school (or vice versa).

If you are anticipating school choice being an issue next year, you should contact an attorney sooner than later to discuss your options.  If you wait until late spring (or worse, summer), there may not be enough time for a court to make a determination prior to the beginning of the school year.  Please call us at (717) 883-5671 or send an email to to discuss your situation.  We would be happy to meet with you either in our Hershey or in our Mechanicsburg office.

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