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Can i change my child's school without the other parent's permission?

rechel & associates, p.a.


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Generally, the answer is a resounding “no”.  In a very small number of cases, one parent is awarded sole parental responsibility for the minor child, and hence can make all parenting decisions for the child without consulting or informing the other parent, and without the other parent’s consent.  In a small but growing number of cases, the parties have shared parental responsibility for the minor child, but one parent is granted ultimate decision making authority over one or all parenting issues.  In that situation, the parents must consult and inform each other about the pending decision, but if they cannot come to an agreement, then the party with ultimate authority makes the decision. At some point in their lives, children in Florida can make the decision which parent to live with, which helps with this situation.  In the vast majority of cases, the parties have shared parental responsibility for the child, with no designation of ultimate responsibility.  In that situation, in order to change a child’s school, the parties must confer with each other, keep each other informed, and agree before a decision is made and acted on.  If the parents cannot agree, the party seeking to change schools must file a motion with the court and seek court permission before enrolling the child in the new school.  Beware unilateral decisions made in violation of shared parental responsibility by changing schools and enrolling the child without the consent of the other party or court permission.  There can be heavy consequences.  A violating party can face contempt charges, attorney’s fees, civil fines, and the child may be disenrolled from the new school and placed back in the old school.  Better to do it right then risk those potential outcomes.

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