Separated parents will usually share in making long-term decisions for the benefit of their children. One long term decision relates to where a child will attend school. If parents cannot agree about their child’s schooling or one parent wants to change a child’s school without the other’s consent, parents may seek a resolution through the Family Courts.
Do I have to consult with the other parent about issues like schooling?
Both parents are legally responsible for their children. When making a Parenting Order, the Family Courts will generally presume that parents should have equal shared parental responsibility for their children. This presumption does not apply where there is family violence. If the Court makes an Order for equal shared parental responsibility, parents will have an equal role in making long-term decisions about issues such as schooling, religion and health and are required to consult each other and reach agreement about such long term matters.
What if we cannot agree on where our child goes to school?
Where separated parents cannot agree about where their child goes to school, the Court can make an Order. Generally, the Court requires that parents make a genuine attempt to resolve their dispute through family dispute resolution (such as mediation through Relationships Australia, the Family Relationships Centre or a private mediator) before making a Court application. When making a Parenting Order, including about schooling, the Court considers a child’s best interests to be the paramount consideration, not one parent’s preference. The Court will take into account a number of factors when making a decision about a child’s schooling such as the child’s living arrangements and travel time to school, the reasons for any change, the parents’ previous intentions, responsibility for payment of school fees and a child’s views (if relevant).
What if the other parent wants to change my child’s school?
If the other parent attempts to change (or has changed) your child’s school without your consent, you may seek an urgent order from the Court. We can advise you about your rights in this regard.