Which Parent Can Make Educational Decisions For The Kids?

child studying Question:

My wife and I recently separated and share custody of our children.

They have been homeschooled for the past few years and have fallen well behind their peers. My wife and I agreed that we need to put them back in public school, but she has a track record of changing her mind. Are there any laws that can prevent her from doing this?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

Where I do practice in Pennsylvania, there is both legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is defined as the right to make major decisions on behalf of the children, including, but not limited to, educational decisions.

Philadelphia divorce attorney William Phelan
Philadelphia divorce attorney William Phelan

If the parents have shared legal custody, then both parents need to be involved in making educational decisions for the children. If a parent is not following a custody agreement that grants shared legal custody by unilaterally enrolling the children into a different school, then the other party may file the proper pleadings with the court to enforce his shared legal custody rights.

Additionally, in Pennsylvania, school districts usually do not get involved in legal custody disputes and will allow one parent to move the children to another school district, unless there is a court order demonstrating said parent does not have any educational decision-making rights.

Due to the extremely sensitive and fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how your state’s laws can help you with this serious situation.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer William J. Phelan, IV, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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