Disagreement over school for your child after divorce or separation

Arguing couple with child

If you and your child’s other parent have differing opinions over the best school for your child, you may need help in resolving the issue.

At Tayntons Solicitors, our family law team regularly represent parents to deal with education issues. We know how important your child’s schooling is and we will provide the guidance and representation you need at this difficult time. We always work to resolve matters without recourse to the courts wherever possible.

How do separated parents agree on a school for their child?

If both you and your child’s other parent have parental responsibility, you are both entitled to contribute to the decision about which school your child will attend. This means that ideally, you will work together to select a school.

Parents usually take into account the school’s location, what faith the school is and how issues such as travel and overnight stays with each parent will be dealt with, as well as the school’s reputation and offering.

What happens when separated parents cannot agree on a school?

If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a choice of school or one parent wishes to move your child to a different school, you are advised to seek legal advice early on before the situation escalates and to allow the situation to be resolved in time for an application to the chosen school to be made.

Your solicitor will be able to refer you to mediation if necessary, which can be an effective way of dealing with disputes. A neutral mediator will work with you and your child’s other parent to look at the situation and how it could be resolved. You will not be pushed into a decision that you are not happy with, but you will be helped to consider all of the options and how you can both work together to support and make the best decisions for your child.

Mediation is usually quicker and more cost-effective than court proceedings and it can help prevent your relationship with your child’s other parent from deteriorating. It is usually a legal requirement to attempt mediation before making an application to the court.

Asking the court to decide on schooling issues

If mediation is not successful or appropriate, you can ask the court to intervene. The court will consider what it believes to be in the child’s best interests, by looking at representations from you and your child’s other parent.

In reaching a decision on issues regarding children in a divorce or separation, the following points will generally be taken into account:

  • Your child’s wishes and feelings, in light of their age and understanding
  • The likely effect on the child of any move to a different school
  • The school’s reputation and facilities available
  • Practicalities, such as location and affordability
  • The objections of you or your partner to a particular school, to include objections on the basis of issues such as religion or syllabus

The court can make a Specific Issue Order stating which school your child should attend.

It can also make a Prohibited Steps Order if necessary, preventing a parent from taking a certain action, such as withdrawing a child from school without the consent of the other parent.

Contact our divorce and family solicitors in Gloucester

If you are separated or divorced and you and your child’s other parent are dealing with a dispute over schooling or other issues, our family law team can help you resolve matters.

Our divorce and family partner and solicitor, Christopher Price, has many years of experience in dealing with child arrangements and parental disagreements. He will be able to advise you of your options and provide robust representation to ensure the best outcome for your family.

To speak to Christopher, ring him on 01452 509006, email him at christopher.price@tayntons.co.uk or request a call back.

To contact us please call 0800 158 4147 or 03330 145451 or email info@tayntons.co.uk

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