I share joint legal custody of my daughter with my ex-wife who is moving away to another school district.
Is she allowed to relocate to another school district and enroll our child in another school without my permission?
As I have not read your Divorce Decree or Settlement Agreement with your ex-wife, and do not have all the facts of your case, I can only speak in generalities based on my experience with custody agreements and joint legal custody in other Indiana cases.
First, under Indiana law, your ex-wife is required to file a Notice to Relocate with the Court whenever she moves (and you are required to do the same if you move). This is required because her moving can, and in this case does, affect your parenting time with your daughter.
Because you have joint legal custody, you and your ex-wife are to make important decisions for your child together, if possible. Where your child attends school is generally considered to be one of these important decisions the court wants you two to make together when joint legal custody is awarded. Your daughter does not automatically, by law, have to attend school in whatever district your ex-wife lives.
However, the provisions of custody agreements can vary widely, so it is possible that your agreement with your ex-wife specifies something different regarding school decisions for your child.
If it does not, and you and your wife cannot agree on where your daughter should now attend school, you can file a motion with the court for a hearing on the matter when your wife files her Notice of Intent to Relocate. The court would look at your agreement, and the best interests of your child (determined by a list of factors in Indiana Statutes), to determine where your child should attend school.
If you would like to discuss the issue further, Cordell and Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers in Indiana and we would be happy to schedule an initial consult with you to address any other questions or concerns you may have for your specific case.
Leslie Lorenzano is a Staff Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Lorenzano is licensed in the state of Indiana and the U.S. District Court Sothern District of Indiana. Ms. Lorenzano received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Purdue University, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona – James E. Rogers College of Law.